Determining whether transgenic and endogenous plant DNA and transgenic protein are detectable in muscle from swine fed Roundup Ready soybean meal

J Anim Sci. 2003 Jun;81(6):1447-55. doi: 10.2527/2003.8161447x.


Questions regarding the digestive fate of DNA and protein from transgenic feed have been raised in regard to human consumption and commercial trade of animal products (e.g., meat, milk, and eggs) from farm animals fed transgenic crops. Using highly sensitive, well-characterized analytical methods, pork loin samples were analyzed for the presence of fragments of transgenic and endogenous plant DNA and transgenic protein from animals fed meal prepared from conventional or glyphosate-tolerant Roundup Ready (RR) soybeans. Pigs were fed diets containing 24, 19, and 14% RR or conventional soybean meal during grower, early-finisher, and late-finisher phases of growth, respectively, and longissimus muscle samples were collected (12 per treatment) after slaughter. Total DNA was extracted from the samples and analyzed by PCR, followed by Southern blot hybridization for the presence of a 272-bp fragment of the cp4 epsps coding region (encoding the synthetic enzyme 5-enolpyruvylshikimate-3-phosphate synthase derived from Agrobacterium sp. strain CP4) and a 198-bp fragment of the endogenous soybean gene le1 (encoding soy lectin). Using 1 microgram of input DNA per reaction, none of the extracted samples was positive for cp4 epsps or le1 at the limit of detection (LOD) for these PCR/Southern blot assays. The LOD for these assays was shown to be approximately one diploid genome equivalent of RR soybean DNA, even in the presence of 10 micrograms of pork genomic DNA. A 185-bp fragment of the porcine preprolactin (prl) gene, used as a positive control, was amplified from all samples showing that the DNA preparations were amenable to PCR amplification. Using a competitive immunoassay with an LOD of approximately 94 ng of CP4 EPSPS protein/g of pork muscle, neither the CP4 EPSPS protein nor the immunoreactive peptide fragments were detected in loin muscle homogenates from pigs fed RR soybean meal. Taken together, these results show that neither small fragments of transgenic DNA nor immunoreactive fragments of transgenic protein are detectable in loin muscle samples from pigs fed a diet containing RR soybean meal.

MeSH terms

  • Animal Feed
  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Blotting, Southern / veterinary
  • DNA, Plant / analysis*
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Female
  • Male
  • Muscle, Skeletal / chemistry*
  • Plant Proteins / analysis*
  • Plant Proteins / genetics
  • Plants, Genetically Modified*
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction / veterinary
  • Soybeans / genetics*
  • Swine / growth & development
  • Swine / metabolism*


  • DNA, Plant
  • Plant Proteins