2019/01/29
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Glossary of Terms

 
Genetically modified organisms (GMOs)
Living modified organisms (LMOs)
Modern biotechnology
Contained use
Release into the environment (or Release)
GMO intended for direct consumption as food, feed or for processing (GMOs-FFP)
 
 

Genetically modified organisms (GMOs)

GMOs as defined in the Genetically Modified Organisms (Control of Release) Ordinance (the Ordinance) are living organisms that possess a novel combination of genetic materials obtained through the use of modern biotechnology. As being “living organisms”, they are biological entities capable of transferring or replicating genetic material, including sterile organisms, viruses and viroids. They may cover a variety of food crops (such as BT corn, anti-frost tomatoes and herbicide-tolerant soya beans), GM seeds, GM fish, GM flowers, etc. However, they do not include non-living food products such as maize oil, potato chips or soymilk, and do not include living organisms with genetic material altered through traditional breeding and selection techniques (e.g. hybrid rice and golden sweet maize).

 
Living modified organisms (LMOs)

LMOs as defined in the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety to the Convention (the Protocol) has the same meaning and definition as the GMOs in the Ordinance.

 
Modern biotechnology

Modern biotechnology is defined in the Ordinance and the Protocol as the “application of in vitro nucleic acid techniques (including recombinant deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and direct injection of nucleic acid into cells or organelles), or techniques involving the fusion of cells beyond the taxonomic family, that – 
      a. overcome natural physiological reproductive or recombination barriers; and 
      b. are not techniques used in traditional breeding and selection.

 
Contained use

A GMO is in contained use if it is involved in an operation that is undertaken within a facility, installation or other physical barrier; and it is controlled by specific measures that effectively limit its contact with, and its impact on, the environment. For example, cultivation of GM plants in greenhouse with effective filtering system to restrict the dispersal of pollen to the external environment or keeping knock-out mice inside an escape-proof cage in a laboratory could be considered as “contained use”.

 
Release into the environment (or Release)

A GMO is deemed to be released into the environment if it is not in contained use and is exposed to a condition in which it may grow or reproduce. For example, growing GM papaya in open field, vaccinating animals with live recombinant vaccines, or placing GM cut flowers with viable pollen at outdoor environment may be considered as release into environment.

 
GMO intended for direct consumption as food, feed or for processing (GMOs-FFP)

GMOs-FFP are GMOs which are to be consumed as food or feed directly, such as GM papaya fruits being sold for human consumption and dried GM maize kernels for pet birds, and GMOs to be processed into products, such as GM soy beans for soy sauce or soy milk production and GM maize or canola for oil extraction.