An animal model for safety assessment of genetically modified foods was tested as part of the SAFOTEST project. In a 90-day feeding study on Wistar rats, the transgenic KMD1 rice expressing Cry1Ab protein was compared to its non-transgenic parental wild type, Xiushui 11. The KMD1 rice contained 15 mg Bt toxin/kg and based on the average feed consumption the daily intake was 0.54 mg Bt toxin/ kg body weight. No adverse effects on animal behaviour or weight gain were observed during the study. Blood samples collected one week prior to sacrifice were analyzed and compared for standard haematological and biochemical parameters. A few parameters were significantly different, but all within the normal reference intervals for rats of this breed and age and not in relation to any other findings, thus not considered treatment related. Upon sacrifice a large number of organs were weighed, macroscopic and histopathological examinations were performed with only minor changes to report. The aim of the study was to use a known animal model in performance of safety assessment of a GM crop, in this case KMD1 rice. The results show no adverse or toxic effects of KMD1 rice when tested in the design used in this 90-day study. Nevertheless the experiences from this study lead to the overall conclusion that safety assessment for unintended effects of a GM crop cannot be done without additional test group(s).
Food and Chemical Toxicology, 2007, Vol 45, Issue 3, p. 339-349