GMAC Subcommittee on Release of Agriculture-related GMOs

“Agriculture-related organisms” refers to animals (including fish and invertebrates), plants, microorganisms and vaccines used in cultivation, farming, agronomy, husbandry and horticulture or as food.

GMAC has established a subcommittee to evaluate, advice, and make recommendations on proposed releases of agriculture-related genetically modified organisms (GMOs) 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 agriculture-related GMOs or recommend to GMAC to appoint an expert panel if necessary;
  • To make recommendations to GMAC on the approval for release of agriculture-related GMOs
  • To monitor the control of release of agriculture-related GMOs in the environment by the relevant agency

In 1999, GMAC published the Singapore Guidelines on the Release of Agriculture-Related GMOs to ensure the safe movement and use of such organisms in Singapore. In particular, we work very closely with regulatory agencies such as the Singapore Food Agency to ensure that all GM foods commercially available in Singapore are at least as safe as their conventional counterparts.

The Subcommittee on the Release of Agriculture-Related GMOs makes science-based risk assessments of proposed releases of agriculture-related GMOs. 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.

The Subcommittee consists of scientific experts as well as representatives from the regulatory authorities. When necessary, ad hoc expert panels will be appointed for particular cases.

The composition of the Subcommittee is as follows:

Name Role in GMAC Designation Organisation
A/Prof Peter Dröge Subcommittee Chairman 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
Dr Huangfu Taoqi Ad-Hoc Member Deputy Director
Animal & Plant Health Centre
Animal & Veterinary Service (AVS)
National Parks Board (NParks)
A/Prof Justin Chu Ad-Hoc Member Assistant Professor
Laboratory of Molecular RNA, Virology and Antiviral Strategies
Department of Microbiology and Immunology
National University of Singapore (NUS)
Prof Wang Linfa Ad-Hoc Member Professor & Director
Emerging Infectious Disease Programme
Duke-NUS Medical School

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