Physiology and functional biology of systems

Fate of transgenic DNA and evaluation of metabolic effects in goats fed genetically modified soybean and in their offsprings

R. Tudiscoa1, V. Mastellonea2, M. I. Cutrignellia1, P. Lombardia3 c1, F. Boveraa1, N. Mirabellaa3, G. Piccoloa1, S. Calabròa1, L. Avallonea3 and F. Infascellia1

a1 Dipartimento di Scienze Zootecniche e Ispezione degli Alimenti, sez. B. Ferrara – Università di Napoli “Federico II”, Via F. Delpino, 1–80137 Napoli, Italy

a2 Dipartimento di Medicina Sperimentale e Clinica “Gaetano Salvatore”, Università di Catanzaro Magna Græcia, via Tommaso Campanella, 115 – 88100 Catanzaro, Italy

a3 Dipartimento di Strutture, Funzioni e Tecnologie Biologiche, Università di Napoli “Federico II”, Via F. Delpino, 1–80137 Napoli, Italy


The presence of DNA fragments in blood and milk from goats fed conventional (control) or Roundup Ready® soybean meal solvent extracted (s.e.; treated) was investigated by using a polymerase chain reaction approach. The same investigation was carried out on blood, skeletal muscle and organs from kids of both groups fed only dams’ milk until weaning. Moreover, the possible effects on cell metabolism were evaluated by determination of several specific enzymes in serum, heart, skeletal muscle, liver and kidney. Fragments of the multicopy chloroplast (trnL) gene were found in blood and milk samples from goats of both groups. In kids, the chloroplast fragments were found in samples of both groups. In samples, which proved positive for the presence of chloroplast DNA, fragments of the specific soybean single copy gene (lectin) were detected in several blood and milk samples. The same fragment was also found in control and treated groups of kids. Transgenic fragments were not found in those samples, which were found positive for chloroplast fragments of control groups of either goats or kids. On the contrary, in blood and milk of treated goats, fragments both of the 35S promoter and the CP4 epsps gene were detected. These fragments were also found in treated kids with a significant detection of the 35S promoter in liver, kidney and blood, and of the CP4 epsps gene fragment in liver, kidney, heart and muscle. A significant increase in lactic dehydrogenase, mainly concerning the lactic dehydrogenase-1 isoenzyme was found in heart, skeletal muscle and kidney of treated kids, thus suggesting a change in the local production of the enzyme. Finally, no significant differences were detected concerning kid body and organ weight.

(Online publication May 05 2010)