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Screening of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in cotton and textiles

The GM screening protocol is based on Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR)-based methods, as these methods are the minimal set of DNA-based methods to cover all known GM-cotton events. The protocol is written for and tested to work on all four of the major commercial cotton species: Gossypium hirsutum, G. barbadense, G. arboreum G. herbaceum.
Cotton (Gossypium spp.) has been cultivated for lint for over 8 000 years. There are over 51 species in the Gossypium genus. The Gossypium genome is complex, containing 2,25 to 2,43 gigabase. While GM-cotton cultivation covers a large part of global cotton production today, there are countries where the cultivation of GM cotton is not allowed by law as well as voluntary private and/or public standards that do not allow the intentional use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in the cotton and textile production process. This creates a need for an adequate and harmonized protocol on the screening of cotton and cotton-derived materials for the potential presence of GM-cotton related sequences.

Cotton Traceability

Traceability is defined by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) as ‘the ability to verify the history, location, or application of an item by means of documented recorded identification’. Traceability acts as the connecting link between all the elements and processes that are used for the creation of a product. The subject of ‘cotton traceability’ has acquired new dimensions in recent times due to controversies related to dubious claims and tarnished brand images.
Textile companies are now concerned more than ever before about sustainability features in their business practices and traceability assurances in their products. Efforts made to develop techniques, tools and strategies to define product characteristics such as source and history of the raw material and other components used in their value chains. Reliability and reproducibility of DNA-based traceability techniques are dependent on the quality of DNA extracted from fibers in a fabric. The isolation of good quality DNA from textiles will itself be a blend of art, science and skill.
The next steps depend on the extent of genetic polymorphisms in the genome, the availability of polymorphic markers and how well they can be detected with the high-tech fingerprinting methods using polymerase chain reaction (PCR), electrophoresis, DNA sequencing, quantitative realtime PCR (qRT-PCR), capillary electrophoresis, high-resolution melting (HRM).

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