GMAC Subcommittee for Research on GMOs

The Singapore Biomedical Sciences (BMS) initiative was launched in June 2000 to develop the Biomedical Sciences cluster as one of the key pillars of Singapore's economy. Biotechnology, together with pharmaceuticals, medical technology and healthcare services, form the key sectors of the BMS cluster.

Today, the biotechnology R&D scene in Singapore is a vibrant one with numerous activities such as in the areas of vaccine development, diagnostics and gene therapy being actively pursued. In order to further promote the biosafety culture among Singapore scientists working on genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and to enhance the creditability of local research practices, the GMAC Subcommittee on Research formulated and released the Singapore Biosafety Guidelines for Research on GMOs in May 2006. The Guidelines were tailored from other national and international guidelines to suit Singapore’s research landscape. In Jan 2013, the GMAC Subcommittee on Research revised the Guidelines to keep the content relevant to the rapid advances of technology. The latest updated Guidelines can be found here.

Under the Guidelines, the GMAC Subcommittee on Research should be consulted for all medium to high risk projects on GMOs. Specifically, the Subcommittee is tasked to:

  • Establish issues concerning the biosafety of research involving genetic modification or genetically modified organisms (GMOs) for the creation of an enabling environment for biotechnology R&D;
  • Deliberate on the policy, scientific and economic aspects of biosafety safeguards covering GMOs for research purposes;
  • Formulate recommendations regarding the Singapore Biosafety Guidelines for Research on GMOs. These will include recommendations for the establishment and review of guidelines for physical and biological containment for GMOs in R&D activities;
  • Evaluate submitted research proposals involving genetic manipulative work or GMOs and to provide expert advice for the risk assessment of these.

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 Raymond Lin Tzer Pin Subcommittee Chairman Senior Consultant
Department of Laboratory Medicine
National University Hospital (NUH)
A/Prof Tan Yee Joo Member Associate Professor
Department of Microbiology and Immunology
Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine
National University of Singapore (NUS)
Dr Patrik Johansson Member Senior Lecturer
School of Chemical & Life Sciences
Nanyang Polytechnic
Dr Wang Zheng Ming Member Specialist Team Lead (Bioengineering)
Food Safety Monitoring & Forensics Department
National Centre for Food Science
Singapore Food Agency (SFA)
A/Prof Lisa Ng Member Senior Principal Investigator
Laboratory of Microbial Immunity
Singapore Immunology Network
A/Prof Swaine Chen Member Group Leader
Genome Institute of Singapore
A/Prof Gan Yunn Hwen Member Associate Professor
Department of Biochemistry
Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine
National University of Singapore
A/Prof Tan Boon Huan Member Director
DSO National Laboratories
Dr Donald Jiang Member Scientist
Singapore Food Agency
Asst Prof Tan Meng How Ad-Hoc Member Senior Research Scientist
Genome Institute of Singapore

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

Business Times, 19 May 2006
New Guidelines for Research Involving Genetic Modification

The Straits Times, 19 May 2006
New Safety Guidelines for Scientists

GMAC, 18 May 2006
GMAC Releases the Singapore Biosafety Guidelines for Research on GMOs

The Straits Times, 12 Apr 2005)
Biosafety Laws to Instill Research Confidence