Tuesday, January 12, 2010

New Research Raising More Questions on Safety of Consuming GMO Maize (Corn)

I support and work for agriculture, organic and conventional, but strive to help make all of it more sustainable for the environment, while providing a good living for farmers, supplying adequate and affordable food for people, and ensuring that the food is safe for people and animals to consume.  I am active in organizations involved in organic agriculture and biotechnology and see no conflict there.  I try to keep an open mind, evaluate all evidence critically, and not "take sides".

The GMO issue has been a tough one that often gets me in "spirited" discussions.  We have been modifying plants and animals and "messing with their genetics" for thousands of years.  My issue with GMOs is that we have made some very radical and novel changes and released the products into the environment without fully understanding the long term consequences (my opinion). 

Here is a link to a recently published research paper that I hope will stimulate more discussion and further research.  I am not a medical scientist and I don't know the authors or the reputation of the institutions involved.  I hope that people with that knowledge will contribute to the discussions.  But this paper raises exactly the concerns that I have had.  Are they valid?

Here is the abstract:
Int J Biol Sci 2009; 5:706-726 ©Ivyspring International Publisher

A Comparison of the Effects of Three GM Corn Varieties on Mammalian Health

Joël Spiroux de Vendômois1, François Roullier1, Dominique Cellier1,2, Gilles-Eric Séralini1,3 ✉

1. CRIIGEN, 40 rue Monceau, 75008 Paris, France
2. University of Rouen LITIS EA 4108, 76821 Mont-Saint-Aignan, France
3. University of Caen, Institute of Biology, Risk Pole CNRS, EA 2608, 14032 Caen, France

We present for the first time a comparative analysis of blood and organ system data from trials with rats fed three main commercialized genetically modified (GM) maize (NK 603, MON 810, MON 863), which are present in food and feed in the world. NK 603 has been modified to be tolerant to the broad spectrum herbicide Roundup and thus contains residues of this formulation. MON 810 and MON 863 are engineered to synthesize two different Bt toxins used as insecticides. Approximately 60 different biochemical parameters were classified per organ and measured in serum and urine after 5 and 14 weeks of feeding. GM maize-fed rats were compared first to their respective isogenic or parental non-GM equivalent control groups. This was followed by comparison to six reference groups, which had consumed various other non-GM maize varieties. We applied nonparametric methods, including multiple pairwise comparisons with a False Discovery Rate approach. Principal Component Analysis allowed the investigation of scattering of different factors (sex, weeks of feeding, diet, dose and group). Our analysis clearly reveals for the 3 GMOs new side effects linked with GM maize consumption, which were sex- and often dose-dependent. Effects were mostly associated with the kidney and liver, the dietary detoxifying organs, although different between the 3 GMOs. Other effects were also noticed in the heart, adrenal glands, spleen and haematopoietic system. We conclude that these data highlight signs of hepatorenal toxicity, possibly due to the new pesticides specific to each GM corn. In addition, unintended direct or indirect metabolic consequences of the genetic modification cannot be excluded.

1 comment:

  1. I'm interested in it also and trying to bring out what is honest and not what is reaction. This was a very helpful post. I am still weighing if growing GMO's is better than using lots of herbicides and pesticides--plus the over-tilling of land--and its runoff.

    It all has to be weighed. I'm not happy with one test and the decision to use or not to use if it doesn't compare how bad it is to use all the other herbicides equally. Like--well how did the rats do when being fed conventional corn that was grown with manure from pass through pesticides?

    How does it compare to corn fed rats who ate corn that was heavily treated with organic approved products---but not necessarily good for you products? Those haven't been tested--do they also produce toxins in the system?

    How does this GMO compare to the above levels of toxin after being ingested? See--I want to see comparisons and weigh the evils. I don't want to be told it's evil without knowing how evil compared to other evils.