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National study Council (US) Committee top top Identifying and Assessing Unintended effects of gene Engineered foods on human Health. Safety of genetically Engineered Foods: ideologies to Assessing Unintended wellness Effects. Washington (DC): nationwide Academies press (US); 2004.


Safety of genetically Engineered Foods: philosophies to Assessing Unintended health Effects.

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National study Council (US) Committee on Identifying and also Assessing Unintended impacts of gene Engineered foods on human Health.

This thing explores the likelihood that unintended results from diverse methods of genetic modification of plants and also animals (see Operational meanings in thing 1). Specifically, the discusses unexpected outcomes of breeding methods offered to construct a food chop or strain and unexpected or unintended results recorded in the scientific literature. It also includes analyses of approaches intentionally offered for modifying food sources and comparing the likelihood of unintended transforms resulting from the use of genetic design versus other approaches of genetic change discussed in chapter 2.


Novel gene combinations occurring from the genetic manipulation of currently genes through conventional breeding techniques may present unintended and unexpected effects. However, through the breeder"s choice process, the hereditary lines that express undesirable features are got rid of from more consideration, and also only the best lines—those that express desirable attributes with no added undesirable agronomic characteristics, such together increased disease susceptibility or negative grain quality—are maintained for possible commercial release. Back plants and also animals created from conventional reproduction methods are frequently evaluated for alters in productivity, reproductive efficiency, reactions to disease, and also quality characteristics, they room not consistently evaluated for unintended impacts at the molecular level. New varieties of food crops, various other than those developed using recombinant deoxyribonucleic acid (rDNA) technologies, are hardly ever subjected come toxicological or other safety assessments (WHO, 2000). Previous nationwide Academies committees have actually addressed the concern of even if it is unintended effects developing from the use of rDNA-based modern technologies in food production and the threats potentially associated with them different in nature and frequency native those linked with non-rDNA-based reproduction methods (NRC, 1987, 2000, 2002).

There is a considerable amount the data compiled and obtainable in the scientific literature addressing worries related to genetically modified (GM) and genetically engineered (GE) plants, including health and also environmental impacts. In contrast, development of transgenic animals is a relatively new area of biotechnology, and so the quantity of data built up and reported for GM pets is much less than that for plants. However, the application of genetic change techniques and also the potential because that unintended adverse effects are similar for both plants and also animals, and much that the information derived from plants have the right to be applied to concerns of worry in the genetic change of animals.

Conventional tree Breeding

Conventional plant production sometimes generates foodstuffs with undesirable traits, several of which are perhaps hazardous to person health. Most crops naturally develop allergens, toxins, or various other antinutritional building materials (see thing 5). Standard practice amongst plant breeders and also agronomists contains monitoring the level of perhaps hazardous antinutritional substances pertinent to the crop. For example, canola breeders monitor levels of glucosinolates in reproduction lines under factor to consider for prospective advertisement release, when potato breeders monitor because that glycoalkaloid content. If a particular breeding heat generates too much of one undesirable substance, that line is removed from consideration for advertisement release.

In the united States, the plant reproduction community is mostly self-monitored. Regulation agencies do not evaluate conventional brand-new crop arrays for health and environmental safety prior to commercial release. Part other nations require government agencies to command premarket evaluations for brand-new crop varieties, both conventional and biotechnology-derived. Canada has a “merit system” because that the commercial release of new varieties of major field crops, in i m sorry candidate ranges are grown in government-administered field trials. Performance data from these trials, concerned agronomic factors, disease resistance, and food top quality characteristics, space compiled for all candidate and also standard advertising varieties. The data are gathered from multiple locations over lot of years, as cereal chemists analyze the grain for chemical and also nutritional composition and also plant pathologists command tests to identify reactions to appropriate diseases. These data room then evaluate by a team of professionals from industry, government, and also universities.

The breeder of every candidate variety must to convince these professionals that the is competitive and worthy relative to other commercially accessible varieties of the crop, based on the performance data from the trials. Just if the committee agrees is the candidate range allowed to it is in registered as a new commercial variety. If the range does not do within prescribed parameters for every characteristics, that is no commercially released (CFIA, 2003).

Naturally occurring Toxins

All foods, whether or not they are genetically engineered, bring potentially hazardous building material or pathogenic microbes and also must be properly and also prudently assessed come ensure a reasonable level of safety. Furthermore, all crop strains, including organic strains, potentially express traits generated by various forms of induced mutagenesis. (Under necessary regulations, radiation breeding and induced mutagenesis are acceptable, but irradiation the the last food chin is not. For more information on necessary regulations, see USDA-AMS, 2001.)

History provides examples of traditional reproduction that caused potentially hazardous foods items (see box 3-1). Solanaceous (tobacco family) crops, such together potato and tomato, naturally create various steroidal glycoalkaloids. These substances room toxic not only to humans, but also to insects and pathogenic fungi. Throughout the course of ordinary plant reproduction assessments, breeding lines with boosted levels of glycoalkaloids might be figured out by the breeder as mirroring superior insect or condition resistance and retained for possible commercial release. The elevation of glycoalkaloid level responsible for the insect tolerance may not be provided until people come to be ill from spend the foods.


BOX 3-1

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Tomatine, a glycoalkaloid naturally present in tomatoes, deserve to be produced in hazardous amounts in particular conventionally bred varieties. Ordinarily, alpha tomatine is present in immature tomato fruit, however is degraded as the fruit matures, so the by the moment the fruit ripens come the wanted stage for person consumption, tomatine content is diminished to for sure levels. Nevertheless, levels of naturally developing tomatine in simple tomatoes bred using traditional methods can vary considerably, primarily based upon maturity, type, and also environmental growing conditions (Gilbert and also Mohankumaran, 1969; Leonardi et al., 2000). In this respect, atmosphere is more responsible because that food dangers than hereditary makeup or breeding method.

Another instance of a possible effect is the unintended elevation of glycoalkaloid contents in potatoes. Every potatoes develop the toxic glycoalkaloid solanine, however mature potato from many cultivars have quantities so tiny as to it is in nonhazardous. However, some ranges produce an ext than others, and particular environmental stimuli, together as growing or warehouse conditions, can reason potentially hazardous increases in solanine content, even within a commonly safe cultivar (Concon, 1988). For example, potato exposed come sunlight rotate green, making them specifically prone to high solanine content. Dark-skinned ranges are less likely come turn environment-friendly than light-skinned varieties, but in either case environment seems to be more important to solanine production than genetics.

Certain potato lines have been found to express higher disease- or pest-resistance, and also they have been selected together superior, not constantly with favorable or plan results. The most infamous such selection was the Lenape potato, i beg your pardon was arisen using conventional reproduction methods (Akeley et al., 1968). After a effective commercial launch, that was found to have dangerously elevated solanine contents in the tubers and also was gotten rid of from the industry (Zitnak and Johnston, 1970). Much more recently, a similar high-solanine potato range was detected and also withdrawn from the industry in Sweden (Hellanäs et al., 1995). In this case, the potato was a heritage variety, arisen in the united Kingdom during the nineteenth century, however superseded through another range due come its susceptibility to an illness (Kuiper, 2003). Nevertheless, it came to be popular in Sweden under the surname “Magnum Bonum,” till its predilection for overexpressing solanine resulted in its commercial death (Hellanäs et al., 1995).

In spite of occasional troubles with the usage of potato glycoalkaloids, typical breeders proceed to rise the glycoalkaloid content in the leaves to take advantage of that pest- and also pathogen-deterrent properties. Consequently, the U.S. Room of agriculture (USDA) recommends, however does not require, a border for glycoalkaloid contents in brand-new potato varieties (Sinden and also Webb, 1972).

Interestingly, the Lenape (also known as reproduction line no. B5141-6) potato has been uncovered to refer some beneficial attributes, such together high solids content. Hence Lenape proceeds to it is in used effectively as a parental in conventional reproduction programs, giving its gene to brand-new commercial potato varieties, such together Atlantic and also Denali. Progeny through genes offering the high solids content space selected or maintained, and the gene responsible for high solanine contents in the tubers room selected against or rejected. Additionally, Lenape has actually been reinvented with a genetic construct include the solanidine glucose-adenosine diphosphate glucosyltransferase (SGT) transgene in the antisense direction, i m sorry is designed come interfere with the solanine biosynthesis (Moehs et al., 1997). In field trials, numerous transgenic Lenape-derived currently expressed substantially less solanine than the parent Lenape, apparently due to antisense expression, an rDNA technique for “turning off” one undesirable gene (McCue et al., 2003).

Several reproduction programs are emerging potatoes derived from typical crosses in between the plain potato Solanum tuberosum and also relatives of other species, such together S. Acaule (Kozukue et al., 1999) or S. Chacoense (Sanford et al., 1998; Zimnoch-Guzowska et al., 2000). These room conventional breeding programs in which genes from 2 different varieties are exchanged. The intent of this conventional reproduction programs is to create potato varieties with brand-new beneficial features, while minimizing deleterious traits native the foreign species.

Breeders generally monitor levels of toxin in plants the are recognized to naturally contain them, also though such surveillance is only voluntary in the joined States. However, an unexpected and unintended problem may result when combining different types because thousands of genes would certainly be interacting, not simply one or 2 genetic facets of interest. Because that example, hybrids of S. Tuberosum and also S. Brevidens created not just the usual glycoalkaloids, but additionally the toxin demissidine, i m sorry is not created in either parent (Laurila et al., 1996). This singular an outcome shows that non-genetic engineering reproduction methods have the right to have unintentional effects and generate perhaps hazardous new products.

Any time genes are mutated or combined, as occurs in practically all reproduction methods, the possibility of producing a new, potentially hazardous problem exists. Conceivably, comparable outcomes could result from utilizing rDNA come transfer details genes indigenous S. Brevidans to S. Tuberosum, giving rise come hybrids to express the novel toxin demissidine. In one of two people case, the danger lies v the presence of the toxin, and also not v the technique of breeding. Genetic design could additionally be used to transfer only the helpful genes indigenous S. Brevidans, leave behind the gene responsible because that the novel toxin.

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Another example of a toxic compound from traditional crops is psoralens in celery (see crate 3-2). Celery naturally produces this irritant chemicals the deter insects indigenous feeding ~ above the tree and also confer security from some illness (Beier and also Oertli, 1983). Celery plants through an elevated expression of psoralens will experience less damages from disease and insect predation and also have more aesthetic appeal to consumers, who have tendency to disapprove insect- or disease-damaged produce.