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Arch Environ Contam Toxicol. 2008 Nov;55(4):584-92. doi: 10.1007/s00244-008-9150-5. Epub 2008 Mar 18.

Reduced fitness of Daphnia magna fed a Bt-transgenic maize variety.

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Genøk-Centre for Biosafety, The Science Park, P.O. Box 6418, Tromso, 9294, Norway.


Genetically modified (GM) maize expressing the Bt-toxin Cry1Ab (Bt-maize) was tested for effects on survival, growth, and reproduction of the water flea Daphnia magna, a crustacean arthropod commonly used as a model organism in ecotoxicological studies. In three repeated experiments, D. magna were fed 100% ground maize in suspension, using either GM or isogenic unmodified (UM) maize. D. magna fed GM-maize showed a significantly reduced fitness performance: The mortality was higher, a lower proportion of females reached sexual maturation, and the overall egg production was lower compared to D. magna fed UM isogenic maize. We conclude that the tested variety of Bt-maize and its UM counterpart do not have the same quality as food sources for this widely used model organism. The combination of a reduced fitness performance combined with earlier onset of reproduction of D. magna fed Bt-maize indicates a toxic effect rather than a lower nutritional value of the GM-maize.

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