12 January - 20 June 2016

Rat feeding studies with soybean meal produced from imidazolinone-tolerant (CV127) soybeans

13 January 2016

GM (genetically modified) crops have become important for the global production of crops. Soybeans are a commonly used crop for both human and animal consumption, mainly being produced in the U.S, Argentina, Brazil, and China. Of the soybeans grown, they are almost exclusively genetically modified and in 80% of the GM crops, the modification allows for herbicide resistance. Genetically modified crops have to be proved to be as safe and nutritionally beneficial as the conventional variety of the crop. A study by the China Agricultural University, using Brazilian soybean varieties, aimed to extend the research into a new GM strain of soybean, CV127 soybeans. This particular variety is tolerant to imidazolinone herbicides due to the introduction of an imidazolinone-tolerant plant protein gene into the soybean genome. This causes a single nucleotide change, which signals a genetic codon change, finally resulting in an amino acid substitution in the genetic coding of the soybean, yielding resistance against imidazolinone based weed killers.

Existing studies have confirmed the equality between CV127 and conventional soybeans by looking at the molecular, compositional, phenotypic and agronomic structures of the GM crop as a comparison. In order to further this research, this study used an animal feeding study using 140 Sprague-Dawley rats over a 90 day period. The rats were grouped by randomly distributing by weight and were fed a diet of either: a standard diet without soybean meal, variations of 7.5%, 15% and 30% CV127 soybeans in soybean meal, and also, in the same concentration variations, a Conquista control diet – a GM soybean derivation that does not contain the CV127 biomarker. Over the study, health status clinical observations were observed daily, and body weight and feed consumption were checked weekly. Clinical checks included white and red blood cell, hemoglobin, corpuscular volume and platelet volume counts. At the end of the study, organs such as the brain, heart, liver and kidneys were weighed.

Over the study’s dietary exposure period, no rats died or showed signs of toxicity. All rats appeared healthy and no adverse clinical observations were reported. There were no significant differences in body weight changes across the diet groups. No hematology values, even if statistically different, were concluded to be treatment related because either there was not a conformance between the male and female groups, or because there was no dose-response relationship. Previous safety studies have deemed CV127 soybean to not present a risk to health, and the data analysis of this study is consistent with this interpretation that unintended adverse changes have not occurred as a result of CV127 modification.

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