The babies of goats who receive feed made with GMO soybean experience difficulty in the absorption of essential nutrients and, as a result, diminished ability to grow. The findings are from a new Italian study submitted to Small Ruminant Research.
GMO soy plants are generally modified to be able to resist massive amounts of herbicide, specifically Roundup Ready, a solution produced by the Monsanto biotech firm. According to the World Health Organization, the main ingredient in the herbicide, glyphosate, may in fact be carcinogenic.
Researchers attributed the slow growth of goat kids to the milk they received from their GMO-fed mothers, which they found was “significantly less nutritious and contained less of the IgG antibodies important for early growth.”
Goat mothers fed GM soy during pregnancy birthed kids 20 percent smaller in size
They also observed a difference in the colostrum (a form of milk produced by mammals in late pregnancy) of goat mothers fed GM soy. Their milk contained less fat and less protein than milk produced by goats fed non-GM soy.
Dr. Judy Carman, Director of the Institute of Health and Environmental Research, Australia, was not involved in the study but commented on the researcher’s findings:
The differences in the composition of the colostrum between the mothers fed the GE [genetically engineered] soy and the non-GE soy were particularly striking. The colostrum from the GE-fed mothers contained only 2/3 of the fat, 1/3 of the protein and close to half of the IgG of the mothers fed the non-GM soy.
Scientists reached their conclusions after dividing pregnant female Cilentana goats into four groups, 60 days before kidding.
“Two of the groups were fed goat food containing GE Roundup Ready soybeans (at two different concentrations). The other two groups were fed conventional (non-GE) soybeans, also at two different concentrations,” reports Independent Science News.
“After the mothers gave birth all offspring were fed only with their mother’s milk for sixty days. The growth of these kids was measured twice. After both thirty days and sixty days the kids of GE-fed mothers were approximately 20% lower in weight and shorter in stature. Both these differences were statistically significant.”
Unsurprising: Baby Goats Fare Better When Their Food Contains No Glyphosate
In addition to the reduced growth, there were other negative effects. The macronutrient content of goats’ milk was significantly affected, seeing a change from 18% protein content in non-GMO fed groups to 6% protein in those who were fed with GMO crops. However, this only lasted for a small number of weeks after the offspring’s birth, and the milk slowly recovered its protein content over time.
The mother goats had notable deficiencies in IgG antibodies in their milk, which negatively affected the growth of their offspring’s immune systems.
In addition, the researchers noticed transgenic DNA present in almost 63% of goats given GMO soy. By comparison, there was no trace of transgenic DNA detected in milk secreted by non-GMO fed goats.
Transgenic DNA consists of genes that are acquired through horizontal gene transfer (as opposed to sexual reproduction) from one organism to a sometimes completely different one, and is a naturally-occurring phenomenon that can also be induced artificially. These genes can in turn be inherited by the animal’s offspring.
The scientists stated that the situation was not unique, and that they had discovered transgenic DNA in the milk of livestock before.
This result is the strongest demonstration so far of altered growth and development in offspring of GE-fed mothers”
Another interesting finding that scientists observed was that all of the baby goats were the same size at birth regardless of whether or not their moms ate GM soy or non-GM soy, indicating that the offspring’s stunted growth was result a of a milk deficiency.
“The authors noted that low IgG antibody levels in colostrum are correlated in other ruminants with slower growth and also that IgG antibodies are known to have a role in nutrient absorption because they promote gut development in newborns.
“The researchers did not discuss whether the transgene DNA fragments found in the milk played a role in altering kid development.
“The same researchers in 2010 showed altered activity of the lactic dehydrogenase enzyme in kids fed milk from mothers that ate GE Roundup Ready soybeans. In that previous study however, no additional effects on goat offspring were detected (Tudisco et al., 2010).”
Featured Image: GMO.news
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