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Environ Sci Eur. 2017;29(1):6. doi: 10.1186/s12302-017-0105-1. Epub 2017 Feb 7.

Transcriptome and metabolome analysis of liver and kidneys of rats chronically fed NK603 Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize.

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Department of Medical and Molecular Genetics, Gene Expression and Therapy Group, Faculty of Life Sciences & Medicine, King's College London, 8th Floor, Tower Wing, Guy's Hospital, Great Maze Pond, London, SE1 9RT UK.
Genomics Centre, King's College London, Waterloo Campus, 150 Stamford Street, London, SE1 9NH UK.
Institute of Biology, EA 2608 and Risk Pole, MRSH-CNRS, University of Caen, Esplanade de la Paix, 14032 Caen Cedex, France.



A previous 2-year rat feeding trial assessing potential toxicity of NK603 Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize revealed blood and urine biochemical changes indicative of liver and kidney pathology. In an effort to obtain deeper insight into these findings, molecular profiling of the liver and kidneys from the same animals was undertaken.


Transcriptomics showed no segregation of NK603 maize and control feed groups with false discovery rates ranging from 43 to 83% at a cut-off p value of 1%. Changes in gene expression were not reflective of liver and kidney toxic effects. Metabolomics identified 692 and 673 metabolites in kidney and liver, respectively. None of the statistically significant disturbances detected (12-56 for different test groups) survived a false discovery rate analysis. Differences in these metabolites between individual animals within a group were greater than the effect of test diets, which prevents a definitive conclusion on either pathology or safety.


Even if the biological relevance of the statistical differences presented in this study is unclear, our results are made available for scrutiny by the scientific community and for comparison in future studies investigating potential toxicological properties of the NK603 corn.


GMO; Glyphosate; Metabolome; Roundup; Toxicity; Transcriptome

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