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Transgenic Res. 2010 Jun;19(3):511-8. doi: 10.1007/s11248-009-9317-5. Epub 2009 Aug 19.

Comparative effects of dietary administered transgenic and conventional papaya on selected intestinal parameters in rat models.

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Department of Basic Medical Sciences, Biochemistry Section, University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica.


Transformation of agricultural crops with novel genes has significantly advanced disease-resistance breeding, including virus resistance through the expression of virus sequences. In this study, the effects of long-term, repeated exposure to transgenic papayas carrying the coat protein gene of Papaya ringspot virus and conventional non-transgenic papaya on the histology and selected biochemical parameters of the intestinal tract were compared. For 3 months, male and female Wistar rats received diets containing transgenic or non-transgenic papaya at twice the equivalent of the average daily consumption of fresh papayas. Gross and macroscopic appearance of intestinal tissues, as well as stomach tissues, was comparable (P < 0.05) as were total intestinal bacterial counts and activities of beta-glucuronidase. Activities of disaccharidases were not affected, neither were those of amylase (P < 0.05). Although significant differences were noted in the activity of Ca(2+) and Na(+)/K(+) ATPase brush border enzymes, no morphological alteration in the integrity of the intestinal mucosa was found. Overall, negligible effects on feed intake, body weight, and fecal output were observed (P < 0.05). Taken together, long-term exposure to diets formulated with transgenic papaya did not result in biologically important unintended effects.

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