GMAC Subcommittee for Release of GMOs and GMO-Related Products

GMAC has established a subcommittee to evaluate, advise, and make recommendations on proposed releases of agriculture-related genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in Singapore, as well as on proposed releases of GMO-related health products for product registration and/or for use in clinical trials in Singapore

The terms of reference of the Subcommittee are as follows:

  • To maintain and update the Singapore Guidelines on the Release of Agriculture-Related GMOs;
  • To designate the various agencies (ie. SFA, NEA, MOH, NParks) to implement the Guidelines using their existing legislation;
  • To assess the risks associated with the release of GMOs and GMO-related products or recommend to GMAC to appoint an expert panel if necessary;
  • To make recommendations to GMAC on the approval for release of GMOs and GMO-related products

In 1999, GMAC published the Singapore Guidelines on the Release of Agriculture-Related GMOs to ensure the safe use of such organisms in Singapore. “Agriculture-related organisms” refers to animals (including fish and invertebrates), plants, and microorganisms used in cultivation, farming, agronomy, husbandry and horticulture or as food. In particular, GMAC works closely with regulatory agencies such as the Singapore Food Agency to ensure that GM foods commercially available in Singapore are at least as safe as their conventional counterparts.

GMAC also works with regulatory agencies such as Singapore's Health Sciences Authority (HSA) to ensure the environmental safety of proposed releases of GMO-related health products in Singapore, either through product registration or for use in clinical trials. Applicants including companies and research institutions/labs are advised to submit a dossier to GMAC for review, following the EU guidelines for environmental risk assessment (i.e. Second schedule of S.I. No. 500 2003 - Genetically Modified Organisms (Deliberate Release) Regulations 2003). It is a regulatory requirement for applicants to submit GMAC's recommendations on environmental risk assessment for gene therapy products (including gene modified cells) as part of the dossier submission to HSA for clinical trial or product registration applications. The checklist of items required for environmental risk assesment can be found here.

The Subcommittee for the Release of GMOs and GMO-Related Products makes science-based risk assessments of proposed releases of agriculture-related GMOs and GMO-related health products. Its recommendations are forwarded to the GMAC main committee, which decides whether or not it will endorse the application. The regulatory authorities will take into account GMAC’s advice when considering the official approval of agriculture-related GMOs and GMO-related health products.

The Subcommittee consists of scientific experts as well as representatives from the regulatory authorities.

The composition of the Subcommittee is as follows:

Name Role in GMAC Designation Organisation
A/Prof Peter Dröge Subcommittee Chair Associate Professor
Division of Molecular and Cell Biology
Nanyang Technological University (NTU)
A/Prof Matthias Maiwald Member Senior Consultant
Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
Adjunct Associate Professor
Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine
KK Women's and Children's Hospital
National University of Singapore and Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School
Dr Hong Yan Member Senior Lecturer
School of Biological Sciences
Nanyang Technological University (NTU)
Dr Yin Zhongchao Member Senior Principal Investigator Temasek Life Sciences Laboratory (TLL)
A/Prof Pan Shen Quan Member Associate Professor
Department of Biological Sciences
National University of Singapore (NUS)
A/Prof Ho Han Kiat Member Associate Professor
Department of Pharmacy
National University of Singapore (NUS)
Ms Emily Teo Member Senior Scientist
Food Safety Monitoring & Forensics Department
National Centre for Food Science, Singapore Food Agency
Asst Prof Lau On Sun Member Assistant Professor
Department of Biological Sciences
National University of Singapore (NUS)
Dr Huangfu Taoqi Member Deputy Director
Animal & Plant Health Centre
Animal & Veterinary Service (AVS)
National Parks Board (NParks)
A/Prof Justin Chu Member Assistant Professor
Laboratory of Molecular RNA, Virology and Antiviral Strategies
Department of Microbiology and Immunology
National University of Singapore (NUS)
Prof Wang Linfa Member Professor & Director
Emerging Infectious Disease Programme
Duke-NUS Medical School
Prof Lee Kok Onn Member Professor and Senior Consultant
Division of Endocrinology
University Medicine Cluster
National University Hospital (NUH)
A/Prof He Jianzhong Member Associate Professor
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
National University of Singapore (NUS)
Prof Stefan Wuertz Member Professor
School of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Nanyang Technological University (NTU)

For more information on the work of the Subcommittee, please see:

Various Agencies, 6 Nov 2008
Multi-Agency Circular on Biosafety Guidelines for Research, Release and Importation of GMOs


The Straits Times, 25 Mar 2008
All Food Here, Including GM Food, Safe to Eat: AVA


The Business Times, 8 Mar 2008
Guardian of Singapore's Food Supply


The Straits Times, 21 Jun 2006
GM Food Facts


The Straits Times, 21 Jun 2006
Test-Tube Foods Still a Hot Potato


The Straits Times, 9 Jun 2004
GM Food Here Tested for Safety


GMAC, 20 Aug 1999
Singapore Guidelines on the Release of Agriculture-Related GMOs