Genetically engineeered soy beans may cause allergies

An interesting article on the site suggests that the rapid increase in allergy to soya noted both in the UK and US could be being triggered by the genetic engineering of soyabeans...

It is well known that genetic engineering, by importing new genes which produce new proteins can trigger an allergic reaction. An early experiment which imported Brazil nuts genes into soya resulted in nut allergic people reacting to the soya so the bean was never marketed.

The Roundup Ready GM variety which accounts for 91% of US soy acres has been engineered to survive otherwise deadly applications of Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide. The plants contain genes from bacteria, which produce a protein that has never been part of the human food supply. Since people aren’t usually allergic to a food until they have eaten it several times, no tests can prove in advance that the protein will not cause allergies.

As a precaution, scientists compare this new protein with a database of proteins known to cause allergies. Sections of the protein produced in GM soy are identical to shrimp and dust mite allergens but although crops which share proteins known to cause allergies should not be commercialised, Roundup got marketed anyway...

The process of creating a GM crop produces massive collateral damage in the plant’s DNA. Native genes can be mutated, deleted, permanently turned on or off, and hundreds may change their levels of protein expression. This can increase existing allergens, or produce a new, unknown allergens. Both appear to have happened in GM soy.

And more...

Farmers use nearly double the amount of herbicide on GM soy compared to non-GM soy; higher herbicide residues might cause reactions.

GM soy reduces digestive enzymes in mice. If proteins “digest” slowly in humans, there is more time for allergic reactions (possibly to many food proteins).

Click here for the full article and for more on the dangers of GM soya got to

First published in March 2010

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