Genetically Modified Corn Toxic to Humans (& Roundup Too), New Study Finds – PlanetSave

Genetically Modified Corn Toxic to Humans (& Roundup Too), New Study Finds


gmo corn health effects

There have been concerns about genetically modified organisms (GMOs) for years. There have been over a dozen scientific studies that have indicated that concern might very well be warranted. However, lack of independent, long-term tests and a multi-billion GMO business have been made it difficult to prove anything. Some recent news one GM corn increases the concerns again, though.

“A study published last week in the peer-reviewed Journal of Applied Toxicology revealed that genetically modified corn containing the genes for Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) is toxic to humans,” Safelawns writes.

“The study further revealed that the herbicide known as Roundup is toxic to humans, even at small exposures. The vast majority of the corn grown in the U.S. has been engineered to contain Bt and is sprayed with Roundup during the growing process.”

Concerning much?

Here’s a full press release from the researchers at CRIIGEN Association and Testbiotech:

Genetically engineered maize: New indication of health risks

Bt protein toxic to human cells 

Insecticidal Bt toxins such as those produced in genetically engineered plants can be detrimental to human cells. This is a result of recent research led by researchers at the University of Caen (France). Their experiments showed that toxins produced in, for example, the genetically engineered maize MON810, can significantly impact the viability of human cells.

The effects were observed with relatively high concentrations of the toxins, nevertheless there is cause for concern. According to companies like Monsanto, which produces genetically engineered maize with these toxins, the toxins are supposed to be active only against particular insects and should have no effect on mammals and humans at all.

For the first time, experiments have now shown that they can have an effect on human cells. These kinds of investigations are not a requirement for risk assessment in Europe or in any other region.

Another finding of the researchers concerns a herbicide formulation sold under the brand name Roundup. Massive amounts of this herbicide are sprayed on genetically engineered soybean crops and its residues can be found in food and feed. According to the new publication, even extremely low dosages of Roundup (glyphosate formulations) can damage human cells. These findings are in accordance with several other investigations highlighting unexpected health risks associated with glyphosate preparations.

“We were very much surprised by our findings. Until now, it has been thought almost impossible for Bt proteins to be toxic to human cells. Now further investigations have to be conducted to find out how these toxins impact the cells and if combinatorial effects with other compounds in the food and feed chain have to be taken into account,” says Gilles-Eric Séralini from the University of Caen, who supervised the experiments. “In conclusion, these experiments show that the risks of Bt toxins and of Roundup have been underestimated.”

Bt toxins and tolerance to herbicides are broadly used in genetically engineered plants. Bt proteins only naturally occur in soil bacteria. By introducing the modified toxin gene into the plants, the structure of the toxins is modified and may thereby cause selectivity to be changed. The content of the proteins within the plants is highly variable. Many genetically engineered plants contain several Bt toxins at the same time. For example, SmartStax produces six different Bt toxins and therefore has a higher overall content of the proteins. In addition, it was made tolerant to herbicides. So far, there has been no investigation of the combinatorial effects of these toxins and residues from spraying, or their potential risks for human health, which was considered unlikely. The researchers have now shown that interactivity does occur. Under the specific conditions of their experiment, the modified Bt toxin lowered the toxicity of Roundup. Further investigations are necessary to examine other potential combinatorial effects under varying conditions.

“These results are pretty worrying. Risk assessment requirements for genetically engineered plants and pesticides need to be rigidly enforced. In the light of these findings, we think that the commercialization of these plants is not in accordance with EU regulations”, says Christoph Then at Testbiotech. Testbiotech is closely following risk assessment at the European Food Safety Authority EFSA and has repeatedly brought attention to gaps in risk assessment.

The research was supported by GEKKO foundation (Germany). CRIIGEN Association (France) and Testbiotech (Germany) were involved in planning the experiments and the discussion of results. Findings were published after peer review process.

Professor Gilles-Eric Séralini, France:

Christoph Then, Testbiotech, Germany: +49.15154638040,,

GM Corn image via shutterstock

About the Author

is the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular cleantech-focused website in the world, and Planetsave, a world-leading green and science news site. He has been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and he has been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, and wind energy since 2009. Aside from his work on CleanTechnica and Planetsave, he's the founder and director of Solar Love, EV Obsession, and Bikocity. To connect with Zach on some of your favorite social networks, go to and click on the relevant buttons.