Scientists now have proof, for the first time, that bacteriain the human intestines can absorb DNA from geneticallymodified food. Although the amount absorbed is small andonly occurs during special circumstances, opponents of GMfoods warn that if intestinal bacteria can absorbantibiotic-resistant genes, this threatens the effectivenessof antibiotics in the human body. When we need to takeantibiotics to fight off infection, they may no longer work.
The discovery was made by Harry Gilbert of the University ofNewcastle upon Tyne in the U.K., who fed a hamburger and amilk shake containing GM soya to 12 healthy volunteers andto 7 volunteers who had previously had their colonssurgically removed.
When Gilbert examined stools from the healthy volunteers, hefound no traces of DNA from the GM food, since it had beenthoroughly digested. But when he examined waste productscollected from the 7 colostomy bags, he found that up to3.7% of the GM DNA survived.
Gilbert thinks the DNA may survive its journey through thesmall intestine but get completely destroyed in the largeintestine, which would explain why it was present incolostomy bags but not in the actual intestines.
Does this mean that those of us who still have our colonsare safe eating GM food? There are contradictory conclusionsfrom this study. ?We?ve said time and time again there?s arisk of this happening, says Adrian Bebb of the Friends ofthe Earth. ?Now, they?ve looked just once and they?ve found it.” But Gilbert says, ?These data support the view that GM soyadoes not represent a significant risk to human healththrough gene transfer.?
Let?s hope more studies are done soon, before we becomegenetically-modified human beings.
What is GM food doing to our bodies? Read ?Eating in theDark? by KathleenHart,click here.
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