This OECD public database allows regulatory officials and other interested stakeholders to easily share basic information on products derived from the use of modern biotechnology, as well as some products with novel traits acquired by the use of conventional breeding or mutagenesis, that have been approved for commercial application in at least one country, in terms of food, feed or environmental safety.
This database accommodates Unique Identifiers, which are intended to be used as "keys" to access information of each transgenic product in this database. The coding system of Unique Identifiers was developed by the OECD Working Group on Biosafety and has since been recognised as an appropriate identification system of products included in the database of Biosafety Clearing House (BCH) of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety to the Convention on Biological Diversity as well as in the newly designed FAO GM Foods Platform.
This database is updated using information provided on a voluntary basis by authorities in OECD member/non-member countries and certain institutions that developed these products. Unique Identifiers and relevant information on LMOs are then transferred to the database of the Biosafety Clearing-house (BCH), based on memorandum of corporation between the Secretariat of OECD and the Secretariat of Convention on Biological Diversity.
Unique Identifier is a code of a fixed length of 9 alphanumeric digits for a product derived from recombinant DNA techniques. It is composed of three elements separated by dashes:
- 2 or 3 alphanumerical digits to designate the applicant;
- 5 or 6 alphanumerical digits to designate the "transformation event"; and
- One numerical digit as a verification.
Please consult Revised 2006: OECD Guidance for the Designation of a Unique Identifier for Transgenic Plants for more information.
LMO (Living Modified Organism) has been defined by Article 3 of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety as "any living organism that possesses a novel combination of genetic material obtained through the use of modern biotechnology." In the protocol, living organism means "any biological entity capable of transferring or replicating genetic material, including sterile organisms, viruses and viroides" and modern biotechnology means "the application of a) in vitro nucleic techniques, including recombinant deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and direct injection of nucleic acid into cells or organelles, or b) fusion of cells beyond the taxonomic family, that overcome natural physiological reproductive or recombination barriers and that are not techniques used in traditional breeding and selection."