No evidence of a GMO effect as the research has not been done
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.
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. [Epub ahead of print]
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.