The Nature Institute
20 May Hill Road
Ghent, New York 12075
Telephone: (518) 672-0116
Fax: (518) 672-4270
Email: info@natureinstitute.org
For directions to the Institute, click here.

 

 

   
 
 
Unintended Effects of Genetic Manipulation



Type of Unintended Effect: Physiological (Animals)

salmon

Atlantic salmon expressing transgenic growth hormone experienced numerous changes to their cardiorespiratory system.


Transgenic expression of growth hormone in coho salmon led to a narrower body, more red muscle mass, and smaller white muscle fibers.

Transgenic coho salmon expressing growth hormone had enlarged heads, reduced viability, and accelerated development of their life cycle.


goat

Transgenic goats engineered to secrete the human protein cholinesterase into their milk produced less milk, with lower fat and lactose levels and unusually high white blood cell counts.


pig

Transgenic pigs expressing bovine growth hormone had lower appetites, enlarged organs, gastric ulcers, and other health problems.

Sheep growth hormone expression was highly variable in transgenic pigs, whose bodies had more protein and water and less fat.

Transgenic pigs with elevated levels of growth hormone were infertile, pre-diabetic, and experienced joint problems.

Transgenic expression of a mouse milk protein impaired mammary development and function in pigs.


sheep

Transgenic expression of sheep growth hormone in sheep increased the incidence of reproductive problems and premature death.

Transgenic sheep had unusually high morbidity and expressed a milk-specific protein in their spleen, liver, and other organs.


tilapia

Tilapia fish engineered for transgenic expression of growth hormone had deformed heads and backs, atrophied gonads, and lower mineral content.



Type of Unintended Effect: Physiological (Plants)

alfalfa

Alfalfa with corn transgenes for anthocyanin (red-purple pigment) production was not visibly altered or changed dependent on different light and temperature conditions.

Plant height and flowering were altered in alfalfa genetically engineered to reduce lignin content.


apple

Apples over-expressing a fruit-ripening enzyme lacked flowers and had malformed stomata and altered composition of cell walls.


arabidopsis

Plants producing a biodegradable polyester were smaller, never produced seeds and showed severe changes in metabolism.

Suppression of DHS enzyme in Arabidopsis (a mustard plant) was associated with enlarged leaves, greater root mass, and enhanced seed yield.

Overexpression of phytoene synthase gene in Arabidopsis resulted in delayed germination, increased levels of chlorophyll, and changes in relative levels of carotenoids.

Unintended changes in gene expression were observed in Arabidopsis plants engineered for resistance to the herbicide glufosinate.


aspen

Innate Immunity is Affected in Insect-Resistant GM Aspens


barley

Barley expressing a heat-stable enzyme showed highly variable expression of the enzyme, an anomalous distribution of expression in the grain, and dramatically reduced weight of individual grains.

Transgenic barley plants over-expressing a zinc transport protein had smaller seeds and did not accumulate more zinc when grown in zinc-deficient soil.

Difficulties were encountered when trying to express human collagen in barley.

A group of transgenic barley plants expressing the bar selectable marker gene did not produce viable offspring.


birch

Transgenic birch trees expressing an antifungal enzyme from sugarbeets showed increased susceptibility to leaf spot disease in the field.


canola

Canola plants over-expressing a bacterial phytoene synthase gene also had a reduced level of chlorophyll, changed structure of plastids, changed composition of fatty acids, and delayed germination.


cotton

Bt cotton showed decreased ability to kill cotton bollworm larvae during flower development and flowering.

Bt cotton had altered protein metabolism and produced less insecticidal toxin in leaves when subjected to high temperatures during boll formation.

Glyphosate-resistant cotton showed abnormal reproductive development when sprayed with glyphosate.

Insect-resistant, transgenic cotton was more susceptible to fungal disease than its parent line.


maize

Bt maize has higher lignin content.

Bt maize varieties matured more slowly and had on average lower grain yield and higher grain moisture content than conventional varieties.

Bt maize had changed lipid composition in stems; also, lipid composition in soil was altered, and soil respiration was reduced.

Transgene in corn, intended to raise iron availability, also changed levels of other minerals and proteins.


pea

Peas engineered to be weevil-resistant elicited immune reactions in mice.


pineapple

Pineapple plants with transgenes for fungus and herbicide resistance had altered biochemical make-up.


potato

Potatoes with altered sugar metabolism had changed levels of many metabolites, some not thought to be associated with sugar metabolism.

Inulin-storing potatoes had higher alkaloid content and pigs fed on them had reduced daily weight gain.

Potatoes genetically modified to store more starch stored less starch.

Insect-resistant transgenic potatoes had less foliage and altered levels of leaf-glycoalkaloids.

Potatoes with transgene for virus resistance were variably resistant, and some lines without the target gene nevertheless became highly resistant.


rice

Bt rice showed signs of dwarfism and other abnormalities.

Transgenic expression of a disease-resistance gene activated the oxidative-stress response in rice.


root nodule bacteria

Root nodule bacteria with Bt transgene tended to displace non-manipulated bacteria in legume root nodules.


soybean

Herbicide-resistant soybean plants were shorter, with less chlorophyll, lower weight, and increased susceptibility to stem-splitting at high temperatures.

Glyphosate-resistant soybeans had lower yields.

Root colonization of glyphosate-resistant soybeans by pathogenic Fusarium fungi increased with glyphosate application.

Glyphosate-resistant soybeans have altered root nodules when sprayed with glyphosate.


sugarbeet

Glyphosate-resistant sugar beets became more susceptible to root rot when sprayed with glyphosate.


sugarcane

Sugarcane engineered to reduce polyphenol oxidase (PPO) activity had greater PPO activity, even without the transgene.


tobacco

Transgenic tobacco with resistance to bleaching herbicides had altered composition of carotenoids.


tomato

Tomato plants overexpressing phytoene synthase gene were stunted in growth.

Flavonol-enriched tomatoes had altered levels of at least fifteen other substances.

Suppression of DHS gene in tomatoes was associated with lack of fruiting, altered leaf morphology, higher rate of photosynthesis and other changes.

Transgenic tomatoes altered with a marker gene construct showed significant changes in morphological and physiological characteristics.


wheat

Wheat transformed with a high-molecular-weight glutenin gene showed irregular expression of glutenin and changed its expression levels over subsequent generations.

Wheat with transgene for low-molecular-weight glutenin showed anomalies in glutenin production and some plants had reduced levels of other storage proteins.

Spring wheat with scab-resistance transgene was not scab resistant and showed localized death of leaf tissue.

Wheat expressing transgenic glutenin shows reduction in yield, varying production of glutenin, and altered morphology.

GM wheat outcrosses more often than unmodified wheat of the same varieties.


--> Back to top of this page

--> Main Unintended Effects Search Page


About Us | Become a Friend | Bookstore | Contact Us | Search | Calendar of Events | Our Education Programs | Our Publications | Content Areas | Writings Ordered by Author | Resources and Links | Home