USDA/GIPSA Proficiency Program

Testing for the Presence of Biotechnology Events in Corn and Soybeans

August 2002 Sample Distribution


Date of Report:  November 8, 2002



Purpose of USDA/GIPSA Proficiency Program

Through the USDA/GIPSA Proficiency Program, USDA seeks to improve the overall performance of testing for biotechnology-derived grains and oilseeds.  The USDA/GIPSA Proficiency Program helps organizations identify areas of concern and take corrective actions to improve testing capability and reliability.


Program Description

In August 2002, USDA/GIPSA’s Technical Services Division mailed samples to thirty-three organizations that voluntarily agreed to participate in the USDA/GIPSA Proficiency Program.  Participants included organizations from the U.S., Europe, Asia, and South America.  Each participant received twelve ground corn samples and three ground soybean samples (approximately 20 g in each sample).  The corn samples were either control samples containing no biotechnology events or fortified samples containing any combination of the following events:  T25, CBH351, MON810, GA21, E176, Bt11, and NK603.  The soybean samples were either control samples containing no biotechnology event or fortified samples containing the Roundup Ready® event.  Each participant received a study description, a Chain of Custody form, and a data report form by regular mail and electronic mail.  Participants submitted results by electronic mail, FAX, or regular mail.  The participants were asked to provide qualitative results only; i.e., absence or presence of the specific biotechnology event.  No methodologies were specified, and organizations used DNA- and protein-based technologies.  Thirty-one  participating organizations returned results by the agreed date.


GIPSA Proficiency Program Summary Table

The attached GIPSA Proficiency Program Summary Table summarizes the data submitted.  The performance of the participant for each event for which data were provided is expressed as percent (%) correct.  No distinction was made between false negatives or false positives.  For example, the twelve corn samples either contained or did not contain T25, and the percent correct was obtained by dividing the number of correct responses by the total number of responses provided.  Those organizations giving GIPSA permission are listed by name in this report (Attachment 1)  Those organizations giving GIPSA permission are also listed by name in the Proficiency Program August 2002 Summary Table (Attachment 2); all other organizations were assigned a Participant Identification Number.


General observations from the GIPSA Proficiency Program for August 2002:


1.                  The Proficiency Program had a total of thirty-three (33) participants:  Seventeen (17) from the U.S., eight (8) from Europe, four (4) from Asia, and four (4) from South America.


2.                  Thirty-one (31) of thirty-three (33) participants submitted results.  Two participants did not submit results due to competing demands.


3.                  Participants used both DNA-based testing (conventional and real time PCR) and protein-based testing (Lateral Flow Strip and Microtiter Well Plate):

·                    Two (2) organizations used protein-based testing exclusively, seven (7) organizations used a combination of DNA- and protein-based testing, and twenty-two (22) organizations used DNA-based testing exclusively

·                    Thirteen (13) organizations provided DNA-based results for all corn events (including 35S and NOS) and the soybean event

·                    Four (4) organizations provided DNA-based results for eight (8) corn events

·                    Two (2) organizations provided DNA-based results for seven (7) corn events

·                    Two (2) organizations provided DNA-based results for six (6) corn events

·                    One (1) organization provided DNA-based results for five (5) corn events

·                    Three (3) organizations provided DNA-based results for three (3) corn events

·                    One (1) organization provided DNA-based results for two (2) events

·                    Three (3) organizations provided DNA-based results for one (1) corn event

·                    One (1) organization provided a protein-based result for T25

·                    Four (4) organizations provided a protein-based result for CBH351

·                    One (1) organization provided a protein-based result for NK603

·                    Four (4) organizations provided a protein-based result for Cry1Ab

·                    Twenty-nine (29) organizations provided DNA-based results for the soybean event and eight (8) organizations provided protein-based results for the soybean event


4.                  Fourteen (14) participants were 100% correct in identifying the presence or absence of all events for which they reported results.


5.         A Summary Table has been prepared that shows the performance of participants to analyze for the events using protein-based and/or DNA-based tests.


6.                  All results reported by participants were scored using the same criteria--% correct.  It is important to understand that a negative result where the target analyte is below the limit of detection is not technically wrong or “incorrect,” nor does an incorrect result necessarily imply a fault with the test and/or operator when the analyte level is below the limit of detection.  It is always important to consider the limit of detection when interpreting results.  A negative result does not mean the sample does not contain the event; it simply means that the sample may not contain the event, or the sample may contain the event at a level below the limit of detection. 


7.                  In the Summary Table for protein-based results, the column “Cry1Ab” reflects the presence of MON810 and/or Bt11 in the samples.  Events MON810, E176, and Bt11 all produce the Cry1Ab protein, and, therefore, it is impossible when using a protein-based test to differentiate among these events when a positive result is obtained.  In addition, the Cry1Ab protein is produced at varying levels among these events.  Event 176 produces very low levels of the Cry1Ab protein, with MON810 and Bt11 producing higher levels.  For scoring purposes, the sample was considered positive for the Cry1Ab protein if it contained MON810 and/or Bt11.  It is important to recognize that the level of Cry1Ab protein in the proficiency samples may be below the limit of detection for some protein-based tests.  Therefore, a negative result for the sample does not indicate the absence of the Cry1Ab protein or necessarily imply a fault with the test or analyst. 


November 2002 Sample Distribution

The next distribution of samples is scheduled for November 2002.  To obtain additional information on the GIPSA Proficiency Program, contact Don Kendall by phone at US 816-891-0463 or e-mail at

Attachment 1.  GIPSA Proficiency Program Participants:  August 2002


The following organizations gave GIPSA permission to identify them as participants in the GIPSA Proficiency Program:


Company        Abraxis LLC                                                             

Address           2935 Byberry Road                                                     

                        Hatboro, PA  19040   

Contact            Fernando Rubio                                   

Telephone        215-957-6477                                                

Fax                  215-957-6402



Company        Biogenetic Services, Inc.

Address           32nd Avenue

                        Bookings, SD  57006

Contact            Alex Kahler

Telephone        800-423-4263/605-697-8500

Fax                  605-697-8507



Company        California Seed and Plant Lab, Inc. 

Address           7877 Pleasant Grove Road

                        Elverta, CA  95626

Contact            Parm Randhawa

Telephone        916-655-1581

Fax                  916-655-1582



Company        GeneScan USA, Inc. 

Address           101 Woodland Highway

                        Belle Chasse, LA  70037

Contact            Frank Spiegelhalter

Telephone        504-398-0940

Fax                  504-398-0945



Company        Genetic ID NA, Inc.  

Address           501 Dimick Drive

                        Fairfield, Iowa  52557 

Contact            Jane Pappin     

Telephone        641-472-9979, ext. 122                                  

Fax                  641-470-1504


GIPSA Proficiency Program Participants:  August 2002


Company        Monsanto

Address           700 Chesterfield Parkway North

                        Mail Zone:  BB5k

                        St. Louis, MO  63189

Contact            Ming Y. Deng, Ph.D.

Phone               (636) 737-5854

Fax                  (636) 737-6134



Company        OMIC USA Inc.

Address           Laboratory and Inspection

                        1200 NW Naito Parkway

                        Suite 100

                        Portland, OR  97209

Contact            Farin Hajar, DNA Laboratory Manager

Telephone        503-224-5929

Fax                  503-223-9436



Company        Silliker Laboratories of Iowa

Address           405 8th Ave SE

                        Cedar Rapids, IA  52401

Contact            Dan Wetsch    

Telephone        319-366-3570

Fax                  319-366-4018



Company        Eurofins, Woodson-Tenent Division            

3507 Delaware

                        Des Moines, IA  50313

Contact            David Pinero

Telephone        515-265-1461

Fax                  515-266-5453            



Company        Agrogene SA 

Address           620, rue Blaise Pascal, Z.I.

                        F-77555 Moissy Cramayel


Contact            A Fatmi

Telephone        00 33 1 64 1337 16

Mobile             00 33 7 56 66524

Fax                  00 33 1 64 1331 81



GIPSA Proficiency Program Participants:  August 2002


Company        Bolsa de Comercio de Rosario

Address:           Córdoba 1402 - City: Rosario - Argentina

Zip code: S2000AWV

Contact            Juan José Giorda 

Telephone        54-341-4211000 e-mail:

Fax                  54-341-4241019



Company        European Commission DG Joint Research Centre

Address           Via Isola Virginia 14    



                        1-21 024


Contact            Guy Van den Eede

Telephone        +39 (0)332 78 5239

Fax                  +39 (0)332 78 5483



Company        FASMAC      

Address           5-1-3-Midorigaoka


                        Anagawa 243-0041  Japan

Contact            Satoshi Futo

Telephone        81 462 9587-87

Fax                  81 462 9437-38



Company        Food Industry Research Development Institute

Address           No. 331 Shih-Pin Road

                        Hsinchu, 30099


Contact            Wen-Shen Chu

Telephone        886-3-5223191, ext 541

Fax                  886-3-5214016



Company        GeneScan Analytics GmbH, Bremen

Address           Fahrenheitstrasse 1

                        D-28359 Bremen


Contact            Matthias Foth

Telephone        +49-(0)421-202466

Fax                  +49-(0)421-2024689



GIPSA Proficiency Program Participants:  August 2002


Company        GeneScan Analytics GmbH, Freiburg

Address           Engesserstrasse 4b

D-79108 Freiburg


Contact            Castor Menendez

Telephone        +49-761-5038-200

Fax                  +49-761-5038-211



Company        IdentiGen

Address           Institute of Genetics

                        Trinity College Dublin

                        Dublin 2


Contact            Ronan Loftus, Ph.D.

Telephone        +353 1 6083427

Fax                  +353 1 6798558



Company        National Laboratory of Foods and Drugs, Department of Health

Address           161-2, Kuen-Yang street, NanKang

Taipei, Taiwan                                     

Contact            Lih-Ching Chiueh         

Telephone        00886-2-26531273

Fax                  00886-2-26531268



Company        Nippon Yuryo Kentei Kyokai Yokohama Laboratory

Address           Bankokubashi Bldg 5-26-1

                        Kaigan-dori Naka-ku  

                        Yokohama, Japan

Contact            Kumi Goto

Phone               045-641-1037

Fax                  045-641-1038



Company        SGS San Lorenzo Laboratory

Address           Neguen 1087

                        S220XAC Sab Kirebzi

                        Santa Fe


Contact            Pablo Zaltz

Telephone        +54-3476-426254

Fax                  +54-3476-431180



GIPSA Proficiency Program Participants:  August 2002


Company        Sistemas Genomicos S. L.

Address           Valencia Technology Park

                        Benjamin Franklin Avenue 12

                        46980 Paterna (Valencia)

                        Spain, Europe

Contact            Angela Perez   

Telephone        +34-96-199-4266

Fax                  +34-96-199-4265



Company        State Laboratory

Address           Abbotstown

                        Dublin 15


Contact            Patricia Bonner

Telephone        +353 1 8025871

Fax                  +353 1 8217320



Company        Syngenta Seeds Ltda

Address           Molecular Genetics Lab

                        BR452 Km 142




Contact            Cristhiane Abegg Bothona

Phone               55-34-32334510

FAX                55-34-32166537


Attachment 2.  USDA/GIPSA Proficiency Program August Summary Table