On-site PCR for GMO testing


Normally, PCR can only be performed in a lab. This task aims to find the materials and equipment necessary to make PCR portable.

This Co-Extra project is looking for ways to get the reagents and equipment used in quantitative PCR directly to the sites where they are needed. Researchers are looking for ways to extract DNA on-site, prepare and pre-package PCR reaction mixes, and adapt equipment for use on the road.


CSL is currently investigating the use of a portable PCR machine, the Cepheid Smartcycler. So far, a DNA extraction method has been developed and tested for oilseed rape that can be used on site and which works well with the Smartcycler machine.

Biolytix is researching ready-to-use real-time PCR reaction mixtures. The goal is to create a reaction mix that requires as few manipulations as possible on-site. Ready-to-use applications have been successfully tested where just a defined volume of the analyte DNA has to be added to the tubes and the run can be started. 

A method for on-site real-time PCR quantification of GT73 Brassica napus has been developed. Additionally, a near Infrared spectroscopy approach has been tested. The near Infrared spectroscopy uses spectral properties of sample in IR to detect GMO’s. The method was developed for Roundup Ready soybean (GTS-40-3-2) due to its specific characteristics. The method is non-invasive and can be applied on-site, therefore suitable for analysis of large sample lots of more expensive material, e.g. seeds.

More information:

Non-PCR based Alternative Analytical Methods

New real-time PCR methods available for routine GMO detection labs - applicability and performance


Christine Henry
Central Science Laboratory Defra (CSL Defra)
Email: info@coextra.eu
Peter Brodmann
Biolytix AG, Switzerland