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A 22 week subchronic feeding study of transgenic BADH alfalfa in rabbits

Feng Zhong, Yusheng Li, Jingkai Xin, Zhenyong Wang, Lin Wang and Jiaqian Chai*

Key Laboratory of Animal Biotechnology and Disease Control and Prevention, Shandong, Agricultural University, Taian 271018, Peoples Republic of China


With the increasing use of genetically modified organisms (GMO) worldwide, the controversy of their safety would be unlikely to abate. Salt is a major stress limiting crop productivity and most alfalfa are salt-sensitive. In plants expression of the gene encoding for Betaine Aldehyde Dehydrogenase (BADH) confers tolerance to salinity and drought stresses. The safety of genetically modified alfalfa was assessed in rabbits consuming diets containing transgenic alfalfa (50%) and conventional non-genetically modified alfalfa (50%). Twenty four male rabbits were fed the two types of alfalfa for 22 weeks. Feed intake and weight gain were measured. Haematology and blood biochemistry of the two groups were compared at both 11th and the 22nd week. All the animals were sacrificed at the end of the experiment and the parameters of the organ index, gross and microscopic appearance of tissues were compared between the two groups. No adverse effects were observed in rabbits consuming GM alfalfa and non-GM alfalfa. The results indicated that the feeding value of GM alfalfa and conventional non-GM alfalfa were equal in this study. No detrimental expected effects were observed in rabbits fed genetically modified alfalfa. We concluded that it is as safe and nutritious as existing alfalfa.

Keywords: BADH-transgenic Alfalfa, safety assessment, substantial equivalence, rabbits
To cite this article: Zhong F, Y Li, J Xin, Z Wang, L Wang and J Chai, 2014. A 22 week subchronic feeding study of transgenic BADH alfalfa in rabbits. Res. Opin. Anim. Vet. Sci., 4(4), 172-177.

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