Expert independent scientist verdict contradicts Indian
regulatory authorities on biosafety of GM aubergine Sam
Release of Bt brinjal into the environment for food, feed
and cultivation may present a serious risk for human and
animal health; the GM aubergine is unfit for consumption 
. That's the verdict of French scientist Professor Gilles-
Eric Seralini of the Committee for Independent Research and
Information on Genetic Engineering (CRIIGEN), who carried
out the first ever independent assessment of Monsanto-
Mahyco's dossier on toxicity tests submitted to the Indian
Professor Seralini, commissioned by Greenpeace India to
undertake the assessment, said his key findings were
statistically significant differences between groups of
animals fed GM and non-GM brinjal in the raw data, which
were discounted rather than used to raise food safety
concerns and to call for further investigation .
the differences were not reported in the dossier summaries,
they remained visible in the raw experimental data. These
differences, seen by Monsanto-Mahyco, were deemed
biologically irrelevant, and disregarded on the grounds that
they were within a wide ‘reference' group of brinjal types.
On health effects, Seralini found that:
- Bt brinjal produces a protein in the vegetable cells that
induce antibiotic resistance. This is recognised as a major
health problem and is inappropriate for commercialised use.
It may also indicate that old GM technology is being used as
the technology has already moved on from antibiotic
resistance marker genes.
- Bt brinjal appears to have 15 percent less calories and
different alkaloid content compared to non-GM brinjal. It
contains 16-17 mg/kg Bt insecticide toxin.
When fed to
animals, effects were observed on blood chemistry with
significant differences according to the sex of the animal
or period of measurement. Other effects were on blood
clotting time (prothrombin), total bilirubin (liver health),
and alkaline phosphate in goats and rabbits.
- Changes in lactating cows were observed in increased weight
gain, intake of more dry roughage matter and milk production
up by 10-14 percent as if they were treated by a hormone.
- Rats fed Bt brinjal had diarrhoea, increased water
consumption; decrease in liver weight, and liver to body
- Feed intake was modified in broiler chickens.
According to Seralini, “This makes for a very coherent
picture of Bt brinjal that is potentially unsafe for human
consumption. The GM brinjal cannot be considered as safe as
its non GM counterpart.” In addition, he says that the
longest toxicity test were only for 90 days, which does not
assess long-term effects such as the development of cancers
Furthermore, he considers it potentially unsafe
to eat animals with the health problems that had been fed Bt
Seralini criticises the lack of studies directed at non-
target organisms such as butterflies and moths. He believes
it is almost impossible through measurements of toxicity in
a few species of non-target organisms to get a sufficient
view of the possible harm to complicated ecosystems, which
may vary from place to place in India .
He says that extant
studies give no assurances that growing Bt brinjal will be
safe for the environment, as they lack information on the
indirect effect on the food chain as a whole, particularly
with the regard to gene flow, and the possibility of GM
contamination of neighbouring brinjal crops.
Read the rest of this article here:
Science in Society
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