British Move Toward ?DNA Bar Coding?

| May 28, 2003

Biotech companies take note: the British government may soon require ?DNA bar coding? of all genetically modified organisms (GMO?s), reports Duncan Graham-Rowe in New Scientist. According to Graham-Rowe, ?bar coding? involves attaching the ?same unique sequence to all GM organisms,? which means ?a single, simple DNA test could identify any product as GM if it contains intact DNA.? Requiring bar coding would dramatically increase regulators? ability both to track and to test for GMO?s. Graham-Rowe argues that recommending bar coding would affect a compromise between biotech companies? desire for secrecy and governmental agencies? need to ?trace GM food or detect crops that have been contaminated by GM strains.? Ultimately, the use of such a technique would ensure that, as Lorenzo Consoli of Greenpeace has said, ?the times when you could sneak millions of tonnes of soybeans and maize unlabelled into the food chain are definitely over.?
?Amelia Bauerly

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