Fate of maize intrinsic and recombinant genes in calves fed genetically modified maize Bt11

J Food Prot. 2004 Feb;67(2):365-70. doi: 10.4315/0362-028x-67.2.365.


The presence of maize intrinsic and recombinant cry1Ab genes in the gastrointestinal (GI) contents, peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC), and visceral organs of calves fed genetically modified Bt11 maize was examined by PCR in a subchronic 90-day performance study. Samples were collected from six Japanese Black/Holstein calves fed Bt11 maize and from six calves fed non-Bt maize. Fragments of maize zein (Ze1), invertase, chloroplast, and cry1Ab were detected inconsistently in the rumen fluid and rectal contents 5 and 18 h after feeding. The chloroplast DNA fragments of ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase and tRNA were detected inconsistently in the PBMC, the visceral organs, and the longissimus muscle, while the cry1Ab gene was never detected in PBMC or in the visceral organs. These results suggest that feed-derived maize DNA was mostly degraded in the GI tract but that fragmented DNA was detectable in the GI contents as a possible source of transfer to calf tissues. These results also suggest that the recombinant cry1Ab genes were not transferred to the PBMC and tissues of calves fed Bt11 maize.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animal Feed*
  • Animals
  • Bacillus thuringiensis Toxins
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism*
  • Bacterial Toxins*
  • Cattle / metabolism*
  • DNA, Plant / analysis
  • DNA, Recombinant / analysis*
  • Endotoxins / metabolism*
  • Gastrointestinal Contents / chemistry
  • Hemolysin Proteins
  • Plants, Genetically Modified*
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction / methods
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction / veterinary
  • Random Allocation
  • Zea mays / genetics*


  • Bacillus thuringiensis Toxins
  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Bacterial Toxins
  • DNA, Plant
  • DNA, Recombinant
  • Endotoxins
  • Hemolysin Proteins
  • insecticidal crystal protein, Bacillus Thuringiensis