About this database

The GMO 2.0 Ingredients Database was developed as an educational resource for consumers, policy-makers and manufacturers of consumer products. Its purpose is to illustrate, through a searchable series of examples, how widely new genetic engineering techniques are being applied to the manufacturing of everyday ingredients. These ingredients can appear in food, feed, cosmetics, fragrances, supplements and more.

This database was assembled from six months of desk research undertaken by ETC Group, drawing on a decade’s experience tracking developments in the field of synthetic biology. It is not an exhaustive survey. It provides only an indicative and provisional list of ingredients that may be being produced or developed using the next generation of genetic engineering techniques (including gene synthesis, metabolic engineering, directed evolution and gene editing). These techniques are often referred to collectively as GMO 2.0 or synthetic biology.

Besides providing the name of ingredients that are being produced using next generation genetic engineering techniques, the GMO 2.0 Database also provides more specific information about these ingredients, including the names of companies and brand names when these details are known. Ingredients are categorised by a red, orange, yellow status indicator:

  • Red indicates GMO 2.0 ingredients that are believed to already be on the commercial market

  • Orange indicates GMO 2.0 ingredients where a commercial player has signalled an intention or timeline to bring the ingredient onto the market

  • Yellow indicates GMO 2.0 ingredients that are under research and development (either commercially or otherwise), but for which there is not specific information regarding plans to bring the ingredient to the commercial market.


Given the lack of transparency in the marketplace and the limited resources available, the GMO 2.0 Database does not purport to be an authoritative list of GMO 2.0 ingredients. We hope, however, that it provides inspiration and information useful to consumers who want to begin identifying biosynthetic inputs in products they purchase. We also hope that companies will find it a useful starting point when trying to understand the vulnerability of their own supply chains to these synthetic inputs.

The GMO 2.0 Database does not currently include ingredients derived from first generation genetically modified crops (such GMO soy, corn, canola, papaya, etc) because its purpose is to highlight and track the use of newer genetic engineering techniques in ingredient production. For a database of ingredients from first generation GMO’s we reccomend http://www.gmo-compass.org/eng/database/ingredients/ as a starting point.

ETC Group would like to acknowledge previous work undertaken by The Woodrow Wilson Center’s Syn bio Project (The inventory of Synthetic Biology Applications) at http://www.synbioproject.org/cpi/.  Our GMO 2.0 Ingredient database has a deeper focus on materials that may be found as ingredients in consumer products. ETC Group would also like to acknowledge the support of the Frontier Foundation and the CS Fund in providing financial support to undertake this research and to publish it as a public resource.