Sarah Agapito-Tenfen

Tittel: Forsker II


Sarah Agapito completed a PhD (2011-2014) in plant genetics with the CropScience Department at the Federal University of Santa Catarina in Brazil. She undertook a Master of Plant Genetics at the Federal University of Santa Catarina and Bachelor Degree in Agronomy from that same university in 2008.

Sarah has been appointed to the UN Roster of Biosafety Experts in 2013 by the Brazilian Government. She has been actively participating in the Network of Laboratories for the Detection and Identification of Living Modified Organisms that is hosted by the Biosafety Clearing House Portal as part of the Clearing-House Mechanism of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity. In addition, Sarah has been a consultant to multiple government and non-governmental agencies in Brazil and Norway, and has organized two international biosafety courses, the Holistic Foundations for Assessment and Regulation of Genetic Engineering and Genetically Modified Organisms, in collaboration to GenØk, TWN and the Federal University of Santa Catarina (2010 and 2013). In 2014, Sarah has also contributed to the organization and lecture of a UNEP/GEF Biosafety course in Swaziland, Africa.

Her research experience includes plant breeding, plant genetic diversity and conservation, and risk assessment of genetically modified organisms. Specific expertise are: molecular characterization of plant-pathogen systems, in vitro techniques for its use in conservation of wild species, and the biochemical and genetic characterization of transgenic crop plants and transgene flow to wild relatives (particularly as it relates to environmental safety), and transcriptomics (particular dsRNA) and proteomics. The main goal of her current research is to uncover the roles of transgenes in gene regulation in plant systems and to apply that knowledge to assessing their safe use in food and the environment.

Current Research Projects

Conserving the Genetic Biodiversity of Maize in Mexico: Understanding a complex problem and developing participatory solutions” (BiodiverSEEDy)
Funded by the Latin America Programme of the Norwegian Research Council. Start date September 2014 (Research member).

 “Strengthen the production and supply of corn seeds for organic and agroecological production in southern Brazil (Fortalecimento das condições de produção e oferta de sementes de milho para a produção orgânica e agroecológica do Sul do Brasil)”
Funded by The National Counsel of Technological and Scientific Development in Brazil. Start date January 2014 (Research collaborator).

“Molecular characterization of GM plants using omics approaches” under the umbrella of the “Latin American Research Hub for capacity building in biodiversity and biohazards: Brazil-Norway Cooperation Program”
Funded by Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad). Start date January 2012 (Research member).

SynPlast: understanding metabolic plasticity in synthetic biology” (SynPlast)
Funded by GenØk in collaboration with Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Brazil. Start date June 2016 (Project coordinator).


GenØk Biosafety Report 2015/02
Current status of emerging technologies for plant breeding:
Biosafety and knowledge gaps of site directed nucleases and oligonucleotide-directed mutagenesis
Agapito-Tenfen, S.Z. and Wikmark, O.-G.

GenØk Biosafety Report 2016/02
Synthetic biology:
Biosafety and contribution to addressing societal challenges
Wikmark, O.-G., Brautaset, T., Agapito-Tenfen, S.Z., Okoli, A.S., Myhr, A.I., Binimelis, R. and Ching, L.L.

TWN and ACB Policy Briefing November 2016
Biosafety aspects of genome-editing techniques
Agapito-Tenfen, S.Z.

Selected publications

15. Benvenuto, R.F., Agapito-Tenfen, S., Vilperte, V., Wikmark, O.-G., van Rensburg, P. J. and Nodari, N. (2017). “Molecular responses of genetically modified maize to abiotic stresses as determined through proteomic and metabolomic analyses“, PLoS ONE 12(2): e0173069. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0173069

14. Mesnage, R., Agapito-Tenfen, S., Vilperte, V., Renney, G., Ward, M., Séralini, G.E., Nodari, N. and Antoniou, M.N. (2016). “An integrated multi-omics analysis of the NK603 Roundup-tolerant GM maize reveals metabolism disturbances caused by the transformation process“, Scientific Reports, 2016; 6:37855.

13. Vilperte, V., Agapito-Tenfen, S.Z., Wikmark, O.-G. and Nodari, R.O. (2016). «Levels of DNA methylation and transcript accumulation in leaves of transgenic maize varieties«, Environ Sci Eur 28:29. DOI 10.1186/s12302-016-0097-2 (open access)

12. Nascimento-Gavioli, M.C.A., Agapito-Tenfen, S.Z., Nodari, R.O., Welter, L.J., Mora, F.D.S., Saifert, L., da Silva, A.L. and Guerra, M.P. (2016). “Proteome of Plasmopara viticola-infected Vitis vinifera provides insights into grapevine Rpv1/Rpv3 pyramided resistance to downy mildew”, Journal of Proteomics (Print) , v. 2, p. 1-12. DOI: 10.1016/j.jprot.2016.05.024

11. Klabunde, G.H.F., Junkes, C.F.O., Tenfen, S.Z.A., Dantas, A.C.M., Furlan, C.R.C., Mantovani, A., Denardi, F., Boneti, J. and Nodari, R.O. (2016). “Genetic diversity and apple leaf spot disease resistance characterization assessed by SSR markers,” Crop Breeding and Applied Biotechnology (Online) v. 16, p. 189-196.

10. Heinemann, J.A., Agapito-Tenfen, S.Z. and Kurenbach, B. (2015). «Response to «A 28-day oral toxicity evaluation of small interfering RNAs and a long double-stranded RNA targeting vacuolar ATPase in mice«. Regul Toxicol Pharmacol. 2015 Apr;71(3):599-600. doi: 10.1016/j.yrtph.2015.02.003. Epub 2015 Feb 10.

9. Agapito-Tenfen, S.Z., Vilperte, V., Benevenuto, R.F., Rover, C.M., Traavik, T.I. and Nodari, R.O. (2014). «Effect of stacking insecticidal cry and herbicide tolerance epsps transgenes on transgenic maize proteome«. BMC Plant Biol. 2014 Dec 10;14:346. doi: 10.1186/s12870-014-0346-8.

8. Agapito-Tenfen, S.Z., Dantas, A.C.M., Denardi, F. and Nodari, R.O. (2014). «Identification of the Er1 resistence gene and RNase S-alleles in Malus prunifolia 1 var. ringo rootstock«. Scientia Agricola (USP. Impresso), 2014.

7. Heinemann, J.A., Massaro, M., Coray, D.S. and Agapito-Tenfen, S.Z. (2014). Reply to comment on sustainability and innovation in staple crop production in the US Midwest. Int J Agr Sustain 2014; 12:387-390.

6. Heinemann, J.A., Massaro, M., Coray, D.S., Agapito-Tenfen, S.Z. and Wen, J.D. (2013). «Sustainability and innovation in staple crop production in the US Midwest«. Int J Agr Sustain. 2013, 11:1-18.

5. Agapito-Tenfen, S.Z., Guerra, M.P., Wikmark, O.G. and Nodari, R.O. (2013). «Comparative proteomic analysis of genetically modified maize grown under different agroecosystems conditions in Brazil«. Proteome Sci. 2013 Dec 4;11(1):46. doi: 10.1186/1477-5956-11-46.

4. Fraga, H.P., Agapito-Tenfen, S.Z., Caprestano, C.A., Nodari, R.O. and Guerra, M.P. (2013). «Comparative proteomic analysis of off-type and normal phenotype somatic plantlets derived from somatic embryos of Feijoa (Acca sellowiana (O. Berg) Burret)«. Plant Sci. 2013 Sep;210:224-31. doi: 10.1016/j.plantsci.2013.06.006. Epub 2013 Jun 18.

3. Heinemann, J.A., Agapito-Tenfen, S.Z. and Carman, J.A. (2013). «A comparative evaluation of the regulation of GM crops or products containing dsRNA and suggested improvements to risk assessments«. Environ Int. 2013 May;55:43-55. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2013.02.010. Epub 2013 Mar 20.

2. Agapito-Tenfen, S.Z., Steiner, N., Guerra, M.P. and Nodari, R.O. (2011). «Patterns of polyembryony and frequency of surviving multiple embryos of the Brazilian pine Araucaria angustifolia«. Australian Journal of Botany (Print) 2011; 59:749-755.

1. Nodari, R.O., Donazollo, J. and Agapito-Tenfen, S.Z. (2011). “Biossegurança: Ameaças e contaminação por transgenes”, Revista Internacional de Direito e Cidadania, v. Abril, p. 1-13, 2011.