Researchers at Matforsk have developed a new method that allows for the quick and efficient identification of GMO material.

A global patent has been sought and a joint venture firm formed in combination with Norwegian Bioparken.

The new method is DNA-based and the team's findings have been published in the diagnostic journal Nucleic Acids Research.

"We copy the genes which are specific to the genetically modified plants. Today's methods can only handle one gene per test. Our method can do up to 12 genes at the same time, while also revealing how much of each gene is present," researchers Knut Rudi and Askil Holck told Matforsk's journal Matnyttig. So far testing has been confined to maize, and soya is considered the next likely target.

"The method can now be used for more than revealing GMOs. Clinical diagnostication of viruses, bacteria and genetic illnesses are other important applications," Rudi and Holck said.

"The goal is to partially or completely automate some of the analytical work, both in revealing bacteria and in checking that food is what it claims to be," they said.