singapore biosaFety guidelines for research on gmos

In May 2006, GMAC released the Singapore Biosafety Guidelines for Research on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). The Guidelines were adapted from other national and international guidelines, regulations and publications, after consultations with relevant local stakeholders such as researchers, biosafety officers, and the regulatory authorities.

The Guidelines were subsequently revised according to the relevant developments within the local and international context in Aug 2008, Jan 2013 and Jul 2020 respectively.

The Guidelines cover experiments that involve the construction and/or propagation of all biological entities which have been made by genetic manipulation and are of a novel genotype and which are unlikely to occur naturally or which could cause public health or environmental hazards. The Guidelines also have provisions for the importation of GMOs and/or GMO-derived products for research purposes.

The objectives of the Guidelines are to ensure the safe containment, handling and transport of GMOs used in research and to provide a common framework for assessment and notification of research on GMOs. The Guidelines will help to further enhance the biosafety culture amongst Singapore scientists working on GMOs, boosting the creditability of local research practices.

Under the Guidelines, the concept of risk assessment should be undertaken by every researcher. In addition, each institution performing work falling within the Guidelines should have an Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) to evaluate and oversee the work that is being done. GMAC should be notified or consulted for medium to high risk projects.

The Guidelines are not legally-binding on their own. However, GMAC works closely with regulatory agencies such as the Ministry of Health (MOH) and the National Parks Board (NParks) in implementing its guidelines. Projects will be cross-referenced between agencies whenever necessary.

Multi-Agency Circular on Biosafety Guidelines for Research, Release, and Importation of GMOs (Jointly issued by GMAC, MOH, MOM, MEWR, NEA, and AVA)

Singapore Biosafety Guidelines for Research on GMOs (revised May 2021)

Notice to Users on the Adoption of the Singapore Biosafety Guidelines for Research on GMOs (revised Jul 2020) (including list of major amendments)

Proposal Form for Assessment of GM Work (April 2021)
[Word version available here.]

List of GMAC-approved model organisms (May 2020)

List of GMAC-approved host, vector systems (May 2021)

For FAQs on Research Proposals, click here.