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Environment can be more harmful to rice than genetic engineering

INSA and ITQB NOVA research measured the impact of environmental stress on plant genes and proteins throughout 8 generations

Oeiras, 26.09.2017

The approval of genetically modified (GM) crops is preceded by years of intensive research to demonstrate safety to humans and environment. Often, arguments against GMOs claim that, even if the transgene is safe, the transformation procedure can cause uncontrolled and unexpected modifications with putative detrimental consequences.

Researchers Rita Batista (INSA) and Margarida Oliveira Lab (ITQB NOVA), with collaborators from Luxembourg and Saudi Arabia, studied rice lines that they genetically modified and subjected to salinity stress. They followed the lines throughout eight generations and analysed genomic and proteomic changes. The results show that differences promoted due to the genetic modification procedure are mainly short-term physiological changes, attenuating throughout generations, and that environmental stress may cause far more proteomic and transcriptomic alterations than transgenesis. Data also indicates that environmental stimuli per se may strongly impact the allergenicity of a given plant food. The results were published in Scientific Reports, a NatureResearch journal.

“If the environment can originate far more safety issues than genetic engineering, we believe it is pertinent to question what is really relevant and what is clearly excessive when designing risk assessment for Genetically Modified Organisms”, say the authors.


Original article

Scientific Reports 7, Article number: 10624 (2017)  doi:10.1038/s41598-017-09646-8

Environmental stress is the major cause of transcriptomic and proteomic changes in GM and non-GM plants

Rita Batista, Cátia Fonseca, Sébastien Planchon, Sónia Negrão, Jenny Renaut, M. Margarida Oliveira


In the media

Plantas selvagens podem estar mais alteradas do que transgénicos, in Visão, 25.09.2017

Plantas e legumes que comemos podem estar mais alterados do que os alimentos transgénicos, in Sapo Lifestyle 26.09.2017

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