The fate of antibiotic resistance marker genes in transgenic plant feed material fed to chickens

J Antimicrob Chemother. 2002 Jan;49(1):161-4. doi: 10.1093/jac/49.1.161.


We have examined the fate of an antibiotic resistance marker, incorporated into transgenic maize when fed to chicks. Plant-derived markers were found in the crops of five birds fed transgenic maize and in the stomach contents of two birds. The plant-derived marker gene was not found in the intestines. The survival of the antibiotic resistance marker gene mirrored that of plant DNA targets, demonstrating that it survives no better than other DNA and indicating that it is very unlikely that bacteria in the gut of chickens will be transformed to ampicillin resistance when the birds are fed transgenic maize.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animal Feed / analysis*
  • Animals
  • Chickens
  • DNA, Bacterial / analysis
  • DNA, Mitochondrial / analysis
  • Drug Resistance, Bacterial / genetics*
  • Escherichia coli / genetics*
  • Escherichia coli / growth & development
  • Genetic Markers / genetics
  • Plants, Genetically Modified / genetics*
  • Transformation, Bacterial / genetics
  • Zea mays / genetics*
  • beta-Lactamases / genetics


  • DNA, Bacterial
  • DNA, Mitochondrial
  • Genetic Markers
  • beta-Lactamases