The GM diet we used contained a mixture of three GM genes and therefore three GM proteins. It is rare to see research on mixed GM materials like this, even though it is usually what animals and people eat in the “real world”. Furthermore, regulators do not require animal feeding studies on mixtures of GM genes and their proteins, regardless of whether the genes are all “stacked” into the one plant or spread across several plants that are eaten in the same meal. Therefore, regulators do not assess if several GM genes or proteins may act together in concert to cause ill-health. We have now measured the combined effects on health of eating three commonly used GM genes and their protein products.
We fed animals for over 5 months in a long-term toxicology study, being the normal lifespan of a commercial pig from weaning to slaughter. Most GM feeding studies to date have been for far shorter periods of time. We therefore allowed more time for adverse effects to appear.
Unlike most animal studies done to date, we used enough animals to find statistical significance for biologically significant results.
This research is highly translational. We chose pigs because they have a similar digestive system to humans, and because some of the investigators had been observing reproductive and digestive problems in commercial pigs fed GM crops.