GM Maize Reduces Fertility and Deregulates Genes in Mice

ISIS Press Release 19/11/08

Comprehensive long term studies commissioned by the Austrian government reveal that mice fed GM maize produced fewer and smaller litters with many genes affected compared to controls. Dr. Mae-Wan Ho

Austrian scientists carried out long term studies that showed GM maize fed to mice significantly reduced their fertility over three to four breeding cycles within one generation [1]. Similar effects were found in mice fed GM maize and bred over four generations; although the results did not reach statistical significance in any one generation, the trend was unmistakable, more pups lost and smaller litters in the GM-fed mice.

The studies are by far the most meticulous and comprehensive feeding trials to-date, and confirm deleterious reproductive and health impacts obtained by scientists independent of the biotech industry and farmers’ observations in the field. For a recent review, see [2] GM is Dangerous and Futile (SiS 40).

The new research results are a landmark in the safety assessment of GM food. Most feeding trials were short-term and restricted to a single generation or a single breeding cycle. The “multi-generational” study widely cited as evidence of no long term adverse impacts from GM feed is highly misleading as the experiment did not involve trans- generational feeding, but merely breeding mice that were not GM fed for three generations, and carrying out a separate experiment with GM feed for each generation [3] (Letter to Nature Biotechnology: Systematic bias in favour of no adverse impacts from GM feed, SiS 37). There were other serious flaws in that experiment, not least the failure to ascertain by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) that the processed GM feed used actually contained GM soya.

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ISIS Press Release 19/11/08

GM Maize Disturbs Immune System of Young and Old Mice

New research add to the weight of damning evidence against the safety of GM food Dr. Mae-Wan Ho

The Italian government’s National Institute of Research on Food and Nutrition has just published a report online in the Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry documenting significant disturbances in the immune system of young and old mice that have been fed the GM maize MON 810 [1]. This follows hot on the heels of results released by the Austrian government showing that GM Maize Reduces Fertility & Deregulates Genes in Mice (SiS 41) [2]. These revelations confirm a string of previous findings on adverse health impacts of GM food and feed, leave us in little doubt that GM is Dangerous and Futile (SiS 40) [3]. Proponents should stop misleading the public that GM food and feed is safe.

The GM maize and the parental non-GM variety from which it was derived, were grown simultaneously in neighbouring fields in Landriano, Italy, from seeds provided by Seeds Emporda (Girona, Spain). The control maize flour from the non-GM parental strain had a low level of GMO contamination
(0.29 percent by PCR test) but only the GM maize had the specific gene coding for the toxin Cry1Ab that acts as a pesticide.

The GM and non-GM maize were also analysed for levels of the fungal aflatoxins B1, B2, G1, G2, fumonisin B1 (FB1), deoxynivalenol (DON), ochratoxin, and zeralenon, that frequently contaminate maize grains. The values were below the maximum allowed in Europe, except for FB1 (1350 and 2450 mg/kg) and DON (1300 and 650 mg/kg) in GM and non-GM maize respectively.

The diets were formulated according to accepted standards and contained 50 percent MON810 or its parental control maize flour. A standard pellet diet containing about 50 percent of commercial non GM maize was also used, which did not contain CrylAb by PCR test.

Weaning mice, 21 days old, were fed with the diets for 30 and 90 days, and the old mice, 18 to 19 months, were fed for
90 days on the test diets; and male Balb/c mice were used in all the experiments.

There were no differences in the mean body weight or in food consumed between the GM-fed and control mice. These are the ‘agronomic’ characteristics typically measured in feeding tests, and all too often, the only characteristics measured.

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