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Workshop overview : Approaches to the assessment of the allergenic potential of food from genetically modified crops

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Author: Ladics, G.S. · Holsapple, M.P. · Astwood, J.D. · Kimber, I. · Knippels, L.M.J. · Helm, R.M. · Dong, W.
Source:Toxicological Sciences, 1, 73, 8-16
Identifier: 237068
doi: doi:10.1093/toxsci/kfg055
Keywords: Biology Health · Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology · allergen · food allergen · gene product · allergenicity · allergic reaction · bioinformatics · digestion · exposure · food allergy · food safety · genetic analysis · genetically modified crop · human · hypersensitivity reaction · in vitro study · in vivo study · medical research · nonhuman · nucleotide sequence · physical chemistry · prick test · reproducibility · review · risk assessment · risk factor · validation process · workshop · Animals · Disease Models, Animal · Food Hypersensitivity · Food, Genetically Modified · Mice · Mice, Inbred BALB C · Plant Proteins · Rats · Rats, Inbred BN · Rodentia


There is a need to assess the safety of foods deriving from genetically modified (GM) crops, including the allergenic potential of novel gene products. Presently, there is no single in vitro or in vivo model that has been validated for the identification or characterization of potential food allergens. Instead, the evaluation focuses on risk factors such as source of the gene (i.e., allergenic vs. nonallergenic sources), physicochemical and genetic comparisons to known allergens, and exposure assessments. The purpose of this workshop was to gather together researchers working on various strategies for assessing protein allergenicity: (1) to describe the current state of knowledge and progress that has been made in the development and evaluation of appropriate testing strategies and (2) to identify critical issues that must now be addressed. This overview begins with a consideration of the current issues involved in assessing the allergenicity of GM foods. The second section presents information on in vitro models of digestibility, bioinformatics, and risk assessment in the context of clinical prevention and management of food allergy. Data on rodent models are presented in the next two sections. Finally, nonrodent models for assessing protein allergenicity are discussed. Collectively, these studies indicate that significant progress has been made in developing testing strategies. However, further efforts are needed to evaluate and validate the sensitivity, specificity, and reproducibility of many of these assays for determining the allergenicity potential of GM foods.