Latest GMO Research
DO GENETICALLY ENGINEERED CROPS AFFECT HUMAN HEALTH OR LIVESTOCK PERFORMANCE?
A 420 page report, “Genetically Engineered Crops: Experiences and Prospects” was published in 2016 by the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Genetic engineering (GE), developed in the 1970s, is defined as “a process by which humans introduce or change DNA, RNA, or proteins in an organism to express a new trait or change the expression of an existing trait”. In 2015, crop varieties with GE herbicide resistance, insect resistance, or both were grown on about 12 percent of the world’s planted cropland. The most commonly grown GE crops in 2015 with one or both of those traits were soybean (83 percent of land in soybean production), cotton (75 percent of land in cotton production), maize (29 percent of land in corn production), and canola (24 percent of land in canola production). Soybeans and corn are widely used in cattle feeds.
Part of the report examined all relevant research on genetically engineered crops and human health or livestock production. Some conclusions, as stated in the report, were:
◦ the committee concludes that horizontal gene transfer from GE crops or non-GE crops to humans is highly unlikely and does not pose a health risk.
◦ examination of the studies provided sufficient evidence that animals were not harmed by eating food from GE crops; data on the health and feed-conversion efficiency of livestock found no adverse effects associated with feeding GE crops to livestock.
◦ the committee found no evidence of differences, after the introduction of GE foods in the 1990s, in the long-term pattern of increase or decrease in health problems between the United Kingdom and western Europe (where GE food is not widely consumed) and the United States and Canada (where GE food has been consumed since the mid-1990s).
◦ on the basis of comparisons between currently commercialized GE and non-GE foods, long-term data on health of livestock fed GE foods, and epidemiological data, the committee concluded that no differences have been found that implicate a higher risk to human health from GE foods than from non-GE counterparts.
(National Academies Press; http://www.nap.edu/23395 )