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Sequence Analysis for Assessing Potential Allergenicity


Address for correspondence: Steven M. Gendel, Ph.D., Biotechnology Studies Branch, National Center for Food Safety and Technology, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, 6502 S. Archer Road, Summit-Argo, IL 60501. Voice: 708-728-4110; fax 708-728-4177;


Abstract: Sequence analysis plays an important role in assessing the potential allergenicity of proteins used in transgenic foods, particularly for proteins that have not previously been part of the food supply. Sequence comparisons are used to indicate potential unexpected cross reactivity to existing allergens and to assess the potential for developing new sensitivities. Although the concept of using sequence analysis is straightforward, implementing a bioinformatic analysis that is accurate and complete can be complex. Several factors need to be considered, including the design and content of the sequence database, the analysis strategy, and the criteria for evaluating the results.