Case studies on genetically modified organisms (GMOs): Potential risk scenarios and associated health indicators

Food Chem Toxicol. 2018 Jul;117:36-65. doi: 10.1016/j.fct.2017.08.033. Epub 2017 Aug 30.


Within the frame of the EU-funded MARLON project, background data were reviewed to explore the possibility of measuring health indicators during post-market monitoring for potential effects of feeds, particularly genetically modified (GM) feeds, on livestock animal health, if applicable. Four case studies (CSs) of potential health effects on livestock were framed and the current knowledge of a possible effect of GM feed was reviewed. Concerning allergenicity (CS-1), there are no case-reports of allergic reactions or immunotoxic effects resulting from GM feed consumption as compared with non-GM feed. The likelihood of horizontal gene transfer (HGT; CS-2) of GMO-related DNA to different species is not different from that for other DNA and is unlikely to raise health concerns. Concerning mycotoxins (CS-3), insect-resistant GM maize may reduce fumonisins contamination as a health benefit, yet other Fusarium toxins and aflatoxins show inconclusive results. For nutritionally altered crops (CS-4), the genetic modifications applied lead to compositional changes which require special considerations of their nutritional impacts. No health indicators were thus identified except for possible beneficial impacts of reduced mycotoxins and nutritional enhancement. More generally, veterinary health data should ideally be linked with animal exposure information so as to be able to establish cause-effect relationships.

Keywords: Allergenicity; Genetically modified -feed; Health indicators; Horizontal gene transfer; Mycotoxin-reduction; Nutritionally altered geneticalli modified crops.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animal Feed / adverse effects*
  • Animals
  • DNA, Plant / genetics
  • European Union
  • Food Hypersensitivity / etiology
  • Food Hypersensitivity / veterinary*
  • Gene Transfer, Horizontal*
  • Humans
  • Livestock / physiology*
  • Mycotoxins / toxicity*
  • Nutritive Value
  • Plants, Genetically Modified / adverse effects*
  • Plants, Genetically Modified / genetics
  • Product Surveillance, Postmarketing
  • Risk Assessment


  • DNA, Plant
  • Mycotoxins