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Biosafety Science » General Biosafety Issues

Title: Fate of GM food-derived DNA in the Human Body
Publication date: March 05, 2019
Posting date: March 05, 2019

THIRD WORLD NETWORK BIOSAFETY INFORMATION SERVICE

 

Dear Friends and Colleagues

Fate of GM food-derived DNA in the Human Body

Global commercialization of genetically modified (GM) food and feed has stimulated much debate over the fate of GM food-derived DNA in the body of the consumer and as to whether it poses any health risks. A new review by international toxicologists looked at the fate of DNA derived from GM food in the human body.

The study found that mechanical or chemical processing of food, prior to entering the digestive system, compromises DNA integrity. Nevertheless, food-DNA can survive harsh processing and digestive conditions with fragments up to a few hundred base pairs detectable in the gastrointestinal tract. Compelling evidence supported the presence of food (also GM food) derived DNA in the blood and tissues of humans and animals.

While there was limited evidence of food-born DNA integrating into the genome of the consumer and of horizontal transfer of GM crop DNA into gut-bacteria, there was strong evidence that plant-food-miRNAs (microRNA, small non-coding RNA molecules) can survive digestion, enter the body and affect gene expression patterns in different organs. It can be expected that miRNAs from GM foods will behave similarly, and this is an area of research that needs to be explored.

With best wishes,

Third World Network
131 Jalan Macalister
10400 Penang
Malaysia
Email: twn@twnetwork.org
Websites: http://www.twn.my/and http://www.biosafety-info.net/
To subscribe to other TWN information services: www.twnnews.net

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Item 1

ADDRESSING CONCERNS OVER THE FATE OF DNA DERIVED FROM GENETICALLY MODIFIED FOOD IN THE HUMAN BODY: A REVIEW

Nawaz MA, Mesnage R, Tsatsakis AM, Golokhvast KS, Yang SH, Antoniou MN, Chung G
Food Chem Toxicol. 2018 Dec 21;124:423-430.
doi: 10.1016/j.fct.2018.12.030
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30580028

Abstract

Global commercialization of GM food and feed has stimulated much debate over the fate of GM food-derived DNA in the body of the consumer and as to whether it poses any health risks. We reviewed the fate of DNA derived from GM food in the human body. During mechanical/ chemical processing, integrity of DNA is compromised. Food-DNA can survive harsh processing and digestive conditions with fragments up to a few hundred bp detectable in the gastrointestinal tract. Compelling evidence supported the presence of food (also GM food) derived DNA in the blood and tissues of human/animal. There is limited evidence of food-born DNA integrating into the genome of the consumer and of horizontal transfer of GM crop DNA into gut-bacteria. We find no evidence that transgenes in GM crop-derived foods have a greater propensity for uptake and integration than the host DNA of the plant-food. We found no evidence of plant-food DNA function/expression following transfer to either the gut-bacteria or somatic cells. Strong evidence suggested that plant-food-miRNAs can survive digestion, enter the body and affect gene expression patterns. We envisage that this multi-dimensional review will address questions regarding the fate of GM food-derived DNA and gene-regulatory-RNA in the human body.


Item 2

FOOD miRNA MOLECULES CAN AFFECT GENE EXPRESSION

GM Watch
19 January 2019
https://www.gmwatch.org/en/news/latest-news/18710-food-mirna-molecules-can-affect-gene-expression

A new review by international toxicologists looks at what is known of the fate of DNA and miRNAs (microRNA, small non-coding RNA molecules) from food in the digestive system and bodies of the eaters. The review is published in Food and Chemical Toxicology.

The review found:

* Mechanical and chemical processing, prior to entering the digestive system, compromises DNA integrity.

* Nevertheless, DNA fragments of up to a few hundred base pairs can survive and reach blood and tissues of human and animal consumers.

* There is limited evidence that dietary DNA can integrate into the genome of somatic cells (non-reproductive cells of the body) or gut bacteria.

* There is no evidence that dietary DNA integrated into somatic cells of consumers and gut bacteria has gene expression.

* Food miRNAs can survive digestion, enter the consumer’s body and may affect their gene expression in different organs.

The authors found no evidence that transgenes in GM crop-derived foods have a greater propensity for uptake and integration than the DNA from non-GM foods. They also found no evidence of plant food DNA function or expression following transfer to either the gut bacteria or somatic cells.

However, strong evidence suggested that plant food miRNAs can survive digestion, enter the body and affect gene expression patterns. This miRNA research was not conducted on GM foods, but there is every reason to expect that miRNAs from GM foods will behave in the same way.

It is not known if there might be any GMO-specific effect on gene expression via this mechanism. This avenue of research needs to be explored.


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