Biotech Updates

A Molecular Framework for Risk Assessment of Virus Tolerant GM Pepper

July 6, 2012

The Cucumber mosaic virus coat protein (CMV-CP) gene-transgenic pepper line exhibit high tolerance to CMV virus. Scientist Soon Pack from Korea Research Institute of Bioscience and Biotechnology and colleagues conducted a study to characterize the quality of integration in E7 chili pepper, which is one of the CMV0-CP transgenic lines.

The team used Southern blotting and inverse PCR analysis and found that E7 chili pepper has a single copy of the inserted gene cassette, and the flanking sequences seem to be noncoding and contain few or no genes. They searched for pepper-specific DNA sequence candidates that can serve as reference gene for GM pepper detection. They selected the lipocalin and CaSIG4 genes which are present in pepper genome in one copy only and their sequences are pepper-specific. With the characterization of the genomic sequences flanking the transgene, as well as the availability of the reference genes, the researchers were able to design an event-specific PCR-based detection method for monitoring transgenic pepper. Through this method, the team found out that the CMV-CP expressed in GM pepper tissue was negligible compared to the amount of CMV-CP in wild-type pepper infested by the virus.

The findings of this study can be used in risk assessment studies on E7 chili pepper lines. The complete research paper is available at