Cultivation and commercial utilization of genetically modified (GM) crops has significantly increased in many parts of the world and particularly in developing countries where food security is a challenge. Despite stringent regulations requiring that food made from GM foods should be properly labelled, evidence of unlabelled foods made from GM crops sold in local markets in many of these countries is increasing. This challenge provides the justification for the development of a reliable, accurate and effective screening method. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based method for detection of specific genes in GM crops is a common method used in many parts of the world. This study adapted a PCR-based technique to screen for the presence of specific DNA markers of genetic modification in finished maize and soya products collected from selected supermarkets and local markets across Nigeria. Results obtained indicated that 26.7% of samples tested contain GM specific genes. GM specific genes were also detected in some made-in-Nigeria processed food samples. The findings indicate that products made with GMO materials have entered the food chain in Nigeria at a modest scale and identifies the need for capacity building in techniques for GMO detection for regulatory agencies in Nigeria.
Key words: Genetically modified (GM) organism, GM maize, GM soy, polymerase chain reaction (PCR), CaMV35S, Nigeria.
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