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

Prof Prakash Kumar

Subcommittee Chairman

Professor
Department of Biological Sciences

National University of Singapore (NUS)

A/Prof Tan Yee Joo

Member

Associate Professor
Department of Microbiology

National University of Singapore (NUS)

A/Prof Raymond Lin

Member

Head & Senior Consultant
Department of Laboratory Medicine
Clinical Director
Division of Molecular Diagnostics Centre

National University Hospital (NUH)

Dr Patrik Johansson

Member

Lecturer, School of Chemical & Life Sciences

Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP)

Prof Peter Rainer Preiser

Member

Acting Chair
School of Biological Sciences
Division of Genomics & Genetics

Associate Provost
(Graduate Education)
President's Office

Nanyang Technological University (NTU)

Dr Wang Zheng Ming

Member

Deputy Director
Veterinary Public Health Laboratory Microbiology Department

Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA)

A/Prof Tan Meng How

Ad-Hoc Member

Assistant Professor
Division of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
School of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering

Nanyang Technological University (NTU)

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