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The term GMO stands for genetically modified organisms. They are plants or animals which are produced after modifying their DNA from DNA obtained from bacteria, viruses or other animals and plants. These GMOs containing recombinant DNA are purely experimental and not found anywhere in nature.
Whether these GMOs have met these tall promises is a matter of doubt. In the meantime, they have been associated with various health problems. They have been blamed of violating the farmers’ and consumers’ rights and creating wide scale environmental damage. A new research published in The Food and Chemical Toxicology Journal has once again highlighted the health risks associated with GMOs and stoked a raging debate on their safety.
The research was conducted by the by the Committee for Research and Independent Information on Genetic Engineering (CRIIGEN), University of Caen, in France, and was led by Gilles-Eric Seralini. For the study, the researchers selected 100 male and 100 female rats and divided them into 10 groups. Each group containing equal number of rats of both the sexes was fed food containing Monsanto Roundup ready GMO corn.
Roundup is a chemical weed killer made by the company Monsanto and the Monsanto GMO corn has been genetically modified to withstand direct application of this chemical. This variety of GMO corn is grown across large parts of North America and is widely used for human and animal consumption.
Three groups of rats in the study were fed food containing different concentrations of Monsanto Roundup ready GMO corn. Another three groups were fed corn which had been treated with different concentrations of the weed killer Round up. Another three groups were fed food containing non-GMO corn but the water that the rats in these groups drank contained varying concentrations of Roundup. All the rats were followed up for a period of two years, which is the average life span of a rat. At the end of the two years, all these nine groups were compared with a control group of rats which had received non GMO corn and drank normal water.
Overall, 54 comparisons were made between the rats in the test groups and the rats in the control group. The results took even the researchers by surprise. The GMO corn and Roundup produced a wide array of chronic hormone and sex dependent pathologies in the rats. Some of the important results obtained in the research include:
- In the test groups, 50% of the male rats and 70% of the female rats died a premature death. Compared to this, the rate of premature deaths in the control group was 30% for the male rats and 20% for the female rats.
- Irrespective of whether the rats were male or female, or whether they received only GMO corn, GMO corn with Roundup or only Roundup adulterated water, the rate of developing large cancers in the test groups was 2 to 3 times higher than in the control group.
- 50% to 80% of all the female rats in the various test groups had developed large mammary tumors by the beginning of the 24th month. This happened to only 30% of the female rats in the control group. On an average, there were three tumors per animal.
- The earliest large tumors to be detected in the animals in the test groups were seen as early as four to seven months after the start of the research. In the control group, no tumors were detected before 14 months of the study period and the majority was detected only after 18 months of the study.
- Rats fed on Monsanto Roundup ready GMO corn with traces of Roundup developed large mammary tumors, severe liver congestion and necrosis and kidney nephropathies.
- Rats which drank Roundup showed a 200% to 300% increase in big tumors.