Plant breeders have made and will continue to make important contributions toward meeting the need for more and better feed and food. The use of new techniques to modify the genetic makeup of plants to improve their properties has led to a new generation of crops, grains and their by-products for feed. The use of ingredients and products from genetically modified plants (GMP) in animal nutrition properly raises many questions and issues, such as the role of a nutritional assessment of the modified feed or feed additive as part of safety assessment, the possible influence of genetically modified (GM) products on animal health and product quality and the persistence of the recombinant DNA and of the 'novel' protein in the digestive tract and tissues of food-producing animals. During the last few years many studies have determined the nutrient value of GM feeds compared to their conventional counterparts and some have additionally followed the fate of DNA and novel protein. The results available to date are reassuring and reveal no significant differences in the safety and nutritional value of feedstuffs containing material derived from the so-called 1st generation of genetically modified plants (those with unchanged gross composition) in comparison with non-GM varieties. In addition, no residues of recombinant DNA or novel proteins have been found in any organ or tissue samples obtained from animals fed with GMP. These results indicate that for compositionally equivalent GMP routine-feeding studies with target species generally add little to nutritional and safety assessment. However, the strategies devised for the nutritional and safety assessment of the 1st generation products will be much more difficult to apply to 2nd generation GMP in which significant changes in constituents have been deliberately introduced (e.g., increased fatty acids or amino acids content or a reduced concentration of undesirable constituents). It is suggested that studies made with animals will play a much more important role in insuring the safety of these 2nd generation constructs.