A 90-day toxicity study of GmTMT transgenic maize in Sprague-Dawley rats

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GmTMT transgenic maize is a genetically modified maize plant that overexpresses the γ-tocopherol methyltransferase (γ-TMT) from Glycine max (Gm). The γ-TMT gene was introduced into maize line Zhen58 to encode the GmTMT2a protein which can convert γ-tocopherol into α-tocopherol. Overexpression of GmTMT2a significantly increased the α-tocopherol content in transgenic maize. The present study was designed to investigate any potential effects of GmTMT maize grain in a 90-day subchronic rodent feeding study. Maize grains from GmTMT or Zhen58 were incorporated into rodent diets at low (12.5%), medium (25%) or high (50%) concentrations and administered to Sprague-Dawley rats (n = 10/sex/group) for 90 days. The negative control group of rats (n = 10/sex/group) were fed with common maize diets. Results from body weights, feed consumption, clinical chemistry, hematology, absolute and relative organ weights indicated no treatment-related side effects of GmTMT maize grain on rats in comparison with rats consuming diets containing Zhen58 maize grain. In addition, no treatment-related changes were found in necropsy and histopathology examinations. Altogether, our data indicates that GmTMT transgenic maize is as safe and nutritious as its conventional non-transgenic maize.

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