The first animal feeding trial, set up to study the lifetime effects of exposure to NK603 Roundup tolerant GM maize, and also to Roundup, the world's best-selling herbicide and weedkiller, has been completed.
The research was lead by Professor Gilles-Eric Séralini
, Molecular Biologist at Caen University and first author of the research being discussed.
Professor Séralini was in charge of risk assessment for two government commissions and has advised the European Commission on the use of GMO’s commercially. He is the President of the Scientific Board at Committee of Independent Research and Information on Genetic Engineering (CRII-GEN).
Additional contributors at a telepress conference held on Wednesday, include Dr. Michael Antoniou
– Professor in Molecular Genetics, Kings College, London School of Medicine. Dr. Antoniou has over 40 peer-reviewed publications of original work.
Dr. Antoniou was also involved in the GMO Myths & Truths Report, as reported on Digital Journal
, Founder and Director for the Sustainable Food Trust. SFT has an interest in comparing different systems of agriculture and their impact on human and environmental health.
An audio file of the telepress conference can now be heard here
to the study, levels currently considered "safe", can cause mammary tumors and multiple organ damage (kidney and liver), and can also lead to premature death in laboratory animals.
The trial studied the long-term effects of exposure to NK603 GM corn and Roundup, individually and combined, on the health of rats over two years, their entire lifetime.
The study was carried out using two hundred rats fed a standard balanced diet. They were divided into ten groups each containing ten males and ten females.
Three groups tested the effect of NK603 alone. Each group had a different proportion of NK603 in their feed starting at 11%, then 22% and finally 33% of their total diet.
Three groups tested the effect of NK603, which had been sprayed with Roundup in the field at the same proportions of 11%, 22 % and 33% of their total diet.
Three groups tested the effect of Roundup alone, administered via their drinking water at three different concentrations with one control group.
The lowest level corresponded to contamination found in some tap water.
The intermediate level corresponded to the maximum level permitted in the US in GM feed
The highest level was half the strength of Roundup when diluted for use in agriculture.
The control group was fed a diet containing 33% of non-GM corn and plain drinking water.
The researchers took blood and urine samples for analysis monthly for the first three months and then every three months and at the end of the trial studied the rats’ principal organs.
Researchers found that even consuming low levels of NK603 and Roundup, separately or combined, can cause serious health problems in rats, that only became apparent when they were older than 90 days. The first tumor was observed after 120 days, but the majority were only detected after 18 months.
The outcome of this research immediately calls into question the current regulatory process, used to license all new industrial chemicals, pesticides and other "novel crops" since the Second World War. Currently all tests on GM food crops have been approved as "safe" on the basis of a 90-day feeding study in mammals.
In this study, the first large tumor was only observed four months into the trial, and most tumors were not even detected until after 18 months.
This research highlights the need for more research and long-term studies to evaluate the safety of all GM food crops, which are currently grown on almost 10% of the world's arable land.
Copies of the research can be obtained on request from CRIIGEN
and from Food and Chemical Toxicology
The full report, as published in Food and Chemical Toxicology, can be read here