Case studies on genetically modified organisms (GMOs): Potential risk scenarios and associated health indicators

Barbara De Santis*, Norbert Stockhofe, Jean Michel Wal, Eefke Weesendorp, Jean Paul Lallès, Jeroen van Dijk, Esther Kok, Marzia De Giacomo, Ralf Einspanier, Roberta Onori, Carlo Brera, Paul Bikker, Jan van der Meulen, Gijs Kleter

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


Within the frame of the EU-funded MARLON project, background data were reviewed to explore the possibility of measuring health indicators during post-market monitoring for potential effects of feeds, particularly genetically modified (GM) feeds, on livestock animal health, if applicable. Four case studies (CSs) of potential health effects on livestock were framed and the current knowledge of a possible effect of GM feed was reviewed. Concerning allergenicity (CS-1), there are no case-reports of allergic reactions or immunotoxic effects resulting from GM feed consumption as compared with non-GM feed. The likelihood of horizontal gene transfer (HGT; CS-2) of GMO-related DNA to different species is not different from that for other DNA and is unlikely to raise health concerns. Concerning mycotoxins (CS-3), insect-resistant GM maize may reduce fumonisins contamination as a health benefit, yet other Fusarium toxins and aflatoxins show inconclusive results. For nutritionally altered crops (CS-4), the genetic modifications applied lead to compositional changes which require special considerations of their nutritional impacts.No health indicators were thus identified except for possible beneficial impacts of reduced mycotoxins and nutritional enhancement. More generally, veterinary health data should ideally be linked with animal exposure information so as to be able to establish cause-effect relationships.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)36-65
JournalFood and Chemical Toxicology
Early online date30 Aug 2017
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2018


  • Allergenicity
  • Genetically modified -feed
  • Health indicators
  • Horizontal gene transfer
  • Mycotoxin-reduction
  • Nutritionally altered geneticalli modified crops


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