Evaluation of Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) corn on mouse testicular development by dual parameter flow cytometry

J Agric Food Chem. 2004 Apr 7;52(7):2097-102. doi: 10.1021/jf0347362.


The health safety of Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) corn (Zea mays L.) was studied using mouse testes as a sensitive biomonitor of potential toxic effects. Pregnant mice were fed a Bt corn or a nontransgenic (conventional) diet during gestation and lactation. After they were weaned, young male mice were maintained on the respective diets. At 8, 16, 26, 32, 63, and 87 days after birth, three male mice and an adult reference mouse were killed, the testes were surgically removed, and the percentage of germ cell populations was measured by flow cytometry. Multigenerational studies were conducted in the same manner. There were no apparent differences in percentages of testicular cell populations (haploid, diploid, and tetraploid) between the mice fed the Bt corn diet and those fed the conventional diet. Because of the high rate of cell proliferation and extensive differentiation that makes testicular germ cells highly susceptible to some toxic agents, it was concluded that the Bt corn diet had no measurable or observable effect on fetal, postnatal, pubertal, or adult testicular development. If data from this study were extrapolated to humans, Bt corn is not harmful to human reproductive development.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacillus thuringiensis / genetics*
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Division
  • Female
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Plants, Genetically Modified / adverse effects*
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects
  • Spermatozoa / cytology
  • Testis / cytology
  • Testis / growth & development*
  • Zea mays / genetics*