The safety assessment of genetically modified crops includes the evaluation for potential allergenicity. The current 'state-of-the-science' utilizes a weight of evidence approach, as outlined by the Codex Alimentarius commission (Alinorm 03/34A), recognizing no single endpoint is predictive of the allergenic potential of a novel protein. This approach evaluates: whether the gene source is allergenic, sequence similarity to known allergens, and protein resistance to pepsin in vitro. If concerns are identified, serological studies may be necessary to determine if a protein has IgE binding similar to known allergens. Since there was a lack of standardized/validated methods to conduct the allergenicity assessment, a committee was assembled under the International Life Sciences Institute Health and Environmental Sciences Institute to address this issue. Over the last eight years, the Protein Allergenicity Technical Committee has convened workshops and symposia with allergy experts and government authorities to refine methods that underpin the assessment for potential protein allergenicity. This publication outlines this ongoing effort, summarizing workshops and formal meetings, referencing publications, and highlighting outreach activities. The purpose is to (1) outline 'the state-of-the-science' in predicting protein allergenicity in the context of current international recommendations for novel protein safety assessment, and (2) identify approaches that can be improved and future research needs. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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