FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

GE Soybeans Give Altered Milk and Stunted Offspring, Researchers Find

Pregnant goats fed with genetically engineered (GE) soybeans have offspring who grow more slowly and are shorter, according to a new Italian study (Tudisco et al., 2015). Publishing in the journal of Small Ruminant Research, the researchers were testing the results of supplementing the feed of female goats with Roundup Ready GE soybeans.  Roundup Ready soybeans are engineered to resist the herbicide Roundup and are sold by agribusiness giant Monsanto. They are some of the most widely grown soybeans in the world.

The reduced growth of the goat kids was attributed by the researchers to their observation that the milk of the GE-fed mothers was significantly less nutritious and contained less of the IgG antibodies important for early growth.

Cilentana-goats-300x208

Cilentana Goats, Italy. 

“This was a carefully conducted study” commented Dr Judy Carman, Director of the Institute of Health and Environmental Research, Australia. She was not involved in the research, but told Independent Science News that:

“The differences in the composition of the colostrum between the mothers fed the GE soy and the non-GE soy were particularly striking.  The colostrum from the GE-fed mothers contained only 2/3 of the fat, 1/3 of the protein and close to half of the IgG of the mothers fed the non-GM soy.”

To carry out these experiments the researchers divided pregnant female Cilentana goats into four groups, sixty days before kidding. Two of the groups were fed goat food containing GE Roundup Ready soybeans (at two different concentrations). The other two groups were fed conventional (non-GE) soybeans, also at two different concentrations.

After the mothers gave birth all offspring were fed only with their mother’s milk for sixty days. The growth of these kids was measured twice. After both thirty days and sixty days the kids of GE-fed mothers were approximately 20% lower in weight and shorter in stature. Both these differences were statistically significant.

Lower offspring weights were not the only unexpected findings. The researchers also found that the milk of GE-fed goats was lower in protein and fat. This difference in milk quality was large (6% protein in both GE-fed groups versus 18% in both non-GE fed groups) for the first few weeks after birth but gradually disappeared—even though the mothers continued to be fed the GE soybeans. Additionally, the researchers also found that the colostrum produced by GE-fed mothers had low amounts of IgG antibodies. These antibodies are important for growth and for healthy immune development.

A third difference noted by the researchers was that transgenic DNA could be detected in the colostrum of most (10/16) of the GE-fed goats. No transgene DNA was detected in the milk of goats fed non-GE soybeans. This is not the first time that transgene DNA (or non-transgenic DNA) has been found in the milk of ruminants, however.

Interestingly, the researchers found that all of the kids were of similar size at birth, regardless of whether their mothers ate Roundup Ready GE soybeans or not. The researchers therefore proposed that the stunting of the offspring of GE-fed mothers reflected a milk deficiency. Presumably either the lower nutritional value of the colostrum and milk of GE-fed mothers or the colostrum antibody differences that were observed. The authors noted that low IgG antibody levels in colostrum are correlated in other ruminants with slower growth and also that IgG antibodies are known to have a role in nutrient absorption because they promote gut development in newborns.

The researchers did not discuss whether the transgene DNA fragments found in the milk played a role in altering kid development.

This result is the strongest demonstration so far of altered growth and development in offspring of GE-fed mothers. The same researchers in 2010 showed altered activity of the lactic dehydrogenase enzyme in kids fed milk from mothers that ate GE Roundup Ready soybeans. In that previous study however, no additional effects on goat offspring were detected (Tudisco et al., 2010).

“It is already known that Roundup Ready soybeans have various defects including a Manganese deficiency. Yet regulators and GMO developers have continuously dismissed credible reports of GMO crops causing apparent harm to animals, from many different research groups,” said Dr Allison Wilson of The Bioscience Resource Project. “Hopefully they will not ignore yet another study.”

References

Tudisco R., V. Mastellone, M. I. Cutrignelli, P. Lombardi, F. Bovera, N. Mirabella, G. Piccolo, S. Calabrò, L. Avallone and F. Infascelli (2010) Fate of transgenic DNA and evaluation of metabolic effects in goats fed genetically modified soybean and in their offsprings. Animal 4: 1662-1671.

Tudisco R., S. Calabrò, M.I. Cutrignelli, G. Moniello, M. Grossi, V. Mastellone, P. Lombardi, M.E. Peroa, F. Infascelli (2015) Genetically modified soybean in a goat diet: Influence on kid performance. Small Ruminant Research 126: 67–74.

More articles by:

Jonathan Latham edits Independent Science News.

January 21, 2019
W. T. Whitney
New US Economic Attack Against Cuba, Long Threatened, May Hit Soon
Jérôme Duval
Macronist Repression Against the People in Yellow Vests
Dean Baker
The Next Recession: What It Could Look Like
Eric Mann
All Hail the Revolutionary King: Martin Luther King and the Black Revolutionary Tradition
Binoy Kampmark
Spy Theories and the White House: Donald Trump as Russian Agent
Edward Curtin
We Need a Martin Luther King Day of Truth
Bill Fried
Jeff Sessions and the Federalists
Ed Corcoran
Central America Needs a Marshall Plan
Colin Todhunter
Complaint Lodged with European Ombudsman: Regulatory Authorities Colluding with Agrochemicals Industry
Manuel E. Yepe
The US War Against the Weak
Weekend Edition
January 18, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Melvin Goodman
Star Wars Revisited: One More Nightmare From Trump
John Davis
“Weather Terrorism:” a National Emergency
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Sometimes an Establishment Hack is Just What You Need
Joshua Frank
Montana Public Schools Block Pro-LGBTQ Websites
Louisa Willcox
Sky Bears, Earth Bears: Finding and Losing True North
Robert Fisk
Bernie Sanders, Israel and the Middle East
Robert Fantina
Pompeo, the U.S. and Iran
David Rosen
The Biden Band-Aid: Will Democrats Contain the Insurgency?
Nick Pemberton
Human Trafficking Should Be Illegal
Steve Early - Suzanne Gordon
Did Donald Get The Memo? Trump’s VA Secretary Denounces ‘Veteran as Victim’ Stereotyping
Andrew Levine
The Tulsi Gabbard Factor
John W. Whitehead
The Danger Within: Border Patrol is Turning America into a Constitution-Free Zone
Dana E. Abizaid
Kafka’s Grave: a Pilgrimage in Prague
Rebecca Lee
Punishment Through Humiliation: Justice For Sexual Assault Survivors
Dahr Jamail
A Planet in Crisis: The Heat’s On Us
John Feffer
Trump Punts on Syria: The Forever War is Far From Over
Dave Lindorff
Shut Down the War Machine!
Glenn Sacks
LA Teachers’ Strike: Student Voices of the Los Angeles Education Revolt  
Mark Ashwill
The Metamorphosis of International Students Into Honorary US Nationalists: a View from Viet Nam
Ramzy Baroud
The Moral Travesty of Israel Seeking Arab, Iranian Money for its Alleged Nakba
Ron Jacobs
Allen Ginsberg Takes a Trip
Jake Johnston
Haiti by the Numbers
Binoy Kampmark
No-Confidence Survivor: Theresa May and Brexit
Victor Grossman
Red Flowers for Rosa and Karl
Cesar Chelala
President Donald Trump’s “Magical Realism”
Christopher Brauchli
An Education in Fraud
Paul Bentley
The Death Penalty for Canada’s Foreign Policy?
David Swanson
Top 10 Reasons Not to Love NATO
Louis Proyect
Breaking the Left’s Gay Taboo
Kani Xulam
A Saudi Teen and Freedom’s Shining Moment
Ralph Nader
Bar Barr or Regret this Dictatorial Attorney General
Jessicah Pierre
A Dream Deferred: MLK’s Dream of Economic Justice is Far From Reality
Edward J. Martin
Glossip v. Gross, the Eighth Amendment and the Torture Court of the United States
Chuck Collins
Shutdown Expands the Ranks of the “Underwater Nation”
Paul Edwards
War Whores
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail