Detection of transgenic and endogenous plant DNA fragments and proteins in the digesta, blood, tissues, and eggs of laying hens fed with phytase transgenic corn

PLoS One. 2013;8(4):e61138. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0061138. Epub 2013 Apr 8.


The trials were conducted to assess the effects of long-term feeding with phytase transgenic corn (PTC) to hens on laying performance and egg quality, and investigate the fate of transgenic DNA and protein in digesta, blood, tissues, and eggs. Fifty-week old laying hens (n = 144) were fed with a diet containing 62.4% PTC or non-transgenic isogenic control corn (CC) for 16 weeks. We observed that feeding PTC to laying hens had no adverse effect on laying performance or egg quality (P>0.05) except on yolk color (P<0.05). Transgenic phyA2 gene and protein were rapidly degraded in the digestive tract and were not detected in blood, heart, liver, spleen, kidney, breast muscle, and eggs of laying hens fed with diet containing PTC. It was concluded that performance of hens fed diets containing PTC, as measured by egg production and egg quality, was similar to that of hens fed diets formulated with CC. There was no evidence of phyA2 gene or protein translocation to the blood, tissues, and eggs of laying hens.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 6-Phytase / blood
  • 6-Phytase / genetics
  • 6-Phytase / metabolism*
  • Animal Feed*
  • Animals
  • Chickens / blood
  • Chickens / metabolism
  • Chickens / physiology*
  • DNA, Plant / blood
  • DNA, Plant / metabolism*
  • Digestion
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / metabolism
  • Organ Specificity
  • Oviposition*
  • Ovum / metabolism*
  • Plants, Genetically Modified
  • Zea mays / enzymology
  • Zea mays / genetics*


  • DNA, Plant
  • 6-Phytase

Grants and funding

This work was financed by the Genetically Modified Organisms Evaluation Major Projects (No. 2009ZX08011-005B-01), Yangtz River Scholar and Innovation Research Team Development Program (NO. IRT0945), China Agriculture Research System (CARS-41-K15), and China Agriculture Research System-Beijing Team for Poultry Industry. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.