Performing IgE serum testing due to bioinformatics matches in the allergenicity assessment of GM crops

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32 Scopus citations


Proteins introduced into genetically modified (GM) organisms through genetic engineering must be evaluated for their potential to cause allergic disease under various national laws and regulations. The Codex Alimentarius Commission guidance document (2003) calls for testing of serum IgE binding to the introduced protein if the gene was from an allergenic source, or the sequence of the transferred protein has >35% identity in any segment of 80 or more amino acids to a known allergen or shares significant short amino acid identities. The Codex guidance recognized that the assessment will evolve based on new scientific knowledge. Arguably, the current criteria are too conservative as discussed in this paper and they do not provide practical guidance on serum testing. The goals of this paper are: (1) to summarize evidence supporting the level of identity that indicates potential risk of cross-reactivity for those with existing allergies; (2) to provide example bioinformatics results and discuss their interpretation using published examples of proteins expressed in transgenic crops; and (3) to discuss key factors of experimental design and methodology for serum IgE tests to minimize the rate of false negative and false positive identification of potential allergens and cross-reactive proteins.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S24-S34
JournalFood and Chemical Toxicology
Issue number10 SUPPL.
StatePublished - Oct 2008


  • Allergenicity
  • Bioinformatics
  • Genetically modified
  • IgE

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Toxicology


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