Transgenesis affects endogenous soybean allergen levels less than traditional breeding

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Abstract

The regulatory body that oversees the safety assessment of genetically modified (GM) crops in the European Union, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), uniquely requires that endogenous allergen levels be quantified as part of the compositional characterization of GM versions of crops, such as soybean, that are considered to be major allergenic foods. The value of this requirement for assessing food safety has been challenged for multiple reasons including negligible risk of altering allergen levels compared with traditional non-GM breeding. Scatter plots comparing the mean endogenous allergen levels in non-GM soybean isoline grain with the respective levels in GM grain or concurrently grown non-GM commercial reference varieties clearly show that transgenesis causes less change compared with traditional breeding. This visual assessment is confirmed by the quantitative fit of the line of identity (y = x) to the datasets. The current science on allergy does not support the requirement for quantifying allergen levels in GM crops to support safety assessment.

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