For those of us who are concerned with the negative consequences of consuming genetically modified foods, new research may put our minds at ease. For three years, researchers from the GMSAFOOD consortium studied the effects of genetically modified maize (corn) on various piglets. Pigs and humans have similar gastrointestinal physiologies and anatomies, so any data obtained may apply to humans as well.
Bt-maize, the genetically modified crop, is commonly used in the field because it is resistant to certain insects. The group of scientists tested the Bt crop’s effects on pigs over the short term (31 days), longer term (110 days) and over generations. Scientists fed the piglets Bt-maize and recorded the increasing or declining health of the pigs. The initial results from the study suggest pigs of all ages can safely consume Bt-maize with no detrimental effects.
While it is true that humans and pigs differ, the researchers of the experiment believe that this should provide some comfort to individuals who consume genetically modified corn. Certainly, Bt-maize is not the only genetically modified product on the market, and scientists are hoping to conduct further experiments in order to strengthen their studies on other modified foods.
For now, this study suggests that Bt-maize is safe to consume.
Discussion question: While pigs and humans do have similar gastrointestinal tracts, why might it be premature to conclude that genetically modified Bt-maize is perfectly safe for people to consume?
Article source: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120124140103.htm
Journal source: http://www.teagasc.ie/news/2012/201201-24a.asp
Image source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Corn_01.JPG
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