Research areas: Decision Support and Ai

Generator of cost-effective GMO testing strategies


GMOtrack is a command line utility that implements the GMOtrack algorithm. It generates cost-effective testing strategies for traceability of genetically modified organisms (GMO). Given a table of GMOs (along with the probabilities of their presence, the genetic elements present in their genome and a linear cost function) GMOtrack computes the optimal set of screening assays for a two-phase testing strategy.

GMOtrack is distributed free under GPL and can be downloaded from this web page.


Kralj Novak P., Gruden K., Morisset D., Lavracč., Šebih D., Rotter A., Žel J.
GMOtrack: generator of cost-effective GMO testing strategies
Journal of AOAC International 2009, Nov-Dec;92(6):1739-1746
[pdf], supplementary material [pdf][txt]


Windows executable:
Download data below
Real-time PCR analysis costs: PCRcosts.pdf is a document with the cost schema
For developers: Python source code which is developed with Orange version 0.9.64.


Unzip the file GMOtrack is a command-line utility so run it from the command line as described below. To start the command line, you can use the run.bat script, which is enclosed in the archive.


GMOtrack is a command-line utility. GMOtrack usage:
GMOtrack filename [-m int][-c float][-k float][-n float]

  • -mmaximum assays for first phase constraint, default m=5
  • -cminimum coverage (in %) of the first phase, default c=80
  • -kcoefficient for the cost function g, default k=21.18
  • -nconstant for the cost function g, default n=91.82

The program returns for each number i up to m the combination of i screening assays with the lowest expected total cost.

Sample output

sample output


We have prepared the sample datasets
They were used for the experiments in the paper.

dataset year  frequency   # GMOs   # screening assays 1997 all 7 18 1999 all 15 22 2002 all 17 24 2005 all 20 24 2008 all 22 25 2008 food 22 25 2008 feed 22 25 beyond 2008 all 37 32


Here we describe how you can prepare your own data to be used with GMOtrack. We recommend to take one of the available datasets (above) and modify it in a spreadsheet program (e.g. MS Excel). Be careful when saving, since the file must be a “Tab delimited” text file and the filename must end with “.tab”.

how to save the data

GMOtrack uses the “.tab” data format with some additional specifics.
The data must be in a tab separated text file with following format:

  • File head:
    • The first line is reserved for column names: meta attribute names and assay names.
      • the first three columns must be named “GMOname”, “species” and “probability”.
    • The second line denotes the data type:
      • d for nominal values
      • c for numbers
    • The third line denotes column type:
      • m for meta attributes (GMOname, species and probability)
      • empty for assays
  • File body:
    • Each line is the file’s body is one GMO.
      The first column represents GMO names.
      The second column must be species.
      The following columns are the responses of the GMO to the assay:

      • 1 means positive response,
      • 0 means negative response.

Example input data

data preparation


Funding was provided by the Slovenian Research Agency (P4-0165, P2-0103); the Slovenian Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food; and the Slovenian Ministry of the Environment and Spatial Planning (V4-0314).