Malcom Burns, Principal Scientist and Special Advisor to the Government Chemist, helped develop, organise, co-chair and deliver a DNA extraction workshop with the EU Reference Laboratory (EURL) for GMOs in feed and food. This workshop was organised by the European Commission and held at the Joint Research Centre (JRC) in Ispra (Italy) in June 2017. The three day event was attended by over 30 experts representing 19 EU member states and other countries as far afield as Mexico, Ecuador and Brazil.
The workshop consisted of a number of seminars and interactive discussion sessions on different approaches and quality control criteria for DNA extracted from food and feed samples. The workshop was designed to bring together the knowledge and collective expertise and experiences of scientists working in the topical area of extracting DNA from challenging matrices.
As well as co-chairing sessions, Malcolm chaired the interactive session on the second day of the workshop. Each of the participants was asked to present their experiences in relation to DNA extraction, promoting further valuable discussions, comments, suggestions and solutions from the group.
Feedback from the workshop as a whole was very positive, and included how useful the participants found the interactive session which was led by Malcolm using an innovative new format. The workshop will result in a summary document being produced detailing issues commonly encountered when extracting DNA from food and feed samples, as well as associated potential solutions for these issues.
The three-day event provided a forum to discuss and agree best measurement practice in the area of DNA extraction from food and feed, and an EU Guidance Document is in preparation to capture the key principles in this area as a direct result of the workshop.
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