Molecular characterization of genetically-modified crops: Challenges and strategies.

Molecular characterization lays a foundation for safety assessment and subsequent monitoring of genetically modified (GM) crops. Due to the target-specific nature, conventional polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based methods cannot comprehensively detect unintended gene insertions, let alone unknown GM events. As more and more new developed GM crops including new plant breeding technology (NPBT) generated crops are in the pipeline for commercialization, alternative -omics approaches, particularly next generation sequencing, have been developed for molecular characterization of authorized or unauthorized GM (UGM) crops. This review summarizes first those methods, addresses their challenges, and discusses possible strategies for molecular characterization of engineered crops generated by NPBT, highlighting needs for a global information-sharing database and cost-effective, accurate and comprehensive molecular characterization approaches.

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