Rat Feeding Tests Indicate Gene Engineered Corn is Harmful

Rat Feeding Tests Indicate Gene
Engineered Corn is Harmful

Mice Prefer Non-GM
[Dr. Mae-Wan Ho reporting]

A Dutch farmer left two piles of maize in a barn infested with mice, one
pile GM, the other non GM. The GM pile was untouched, while the non
GM pile was completely eaten up. Incredible! Young undergraduate Hinze
Hogendoorn devised his own laboratory tests and confirmed the finding,
and more. Dr. Mae-Wan Ho reports from her recent visit to Hilversum
near Amsterdam, where he lives with his mum. Mum Guusje is very proud
of her son, though she waited until he took the train back to University
College, Utrecht, to tell me about it. A young activists group (Jongeren
Milieu Aktief) presented the report Hinze has written to the Dutch
parliament on 11 December, and is featuring it on their new website

Hinze couldn't find a single scientific report on animals being tested
for preference of GM versus non GM food on the web when he began. On
extending his search to effects of GM foods on animals, he came across
reports from companies developing GM foods, all declaring there were
no adverse impacts. But he also came across independent researchers who
have reported harmful effects, including Dr. Arpad Pusztai, who found GM
potatoes damaged the kidney, thymus, spleen and gut of young rats.
Hinze was disturbed, not just by the scientific findings, but by the fact
that scientists opposing the big companies are so easily discredited.
"Personally, I'm afraid these companies have too much interest
invested in their products for their research to be creditable." That was
another motivation for him to do his own experiments.

The 17 year-old was stumped at first, because he would have needed to
go through a lot of bureaucracy to experiment on animals. However, he
managed to rescue 30 female six-week old mice bred to feed snakes from
a herpetology centre. The next problem was to find the appropriate food.
He went to a website on the care of mice. Mice eat about 15% of their
body weight every day, and they need a diverse diet. So he decided to give
them a staple food along with the two foods that were to be compared,
so they could really show their preference without being starved. For the
staple, he used Rodent mix from the pet store, as well as some oatmeal
and cereals guaranteed by their producers (Kellogg's and Quaker's) to
be 'GM-free' in the Netherlands. For GM foods, he used maize and soya,
and the corresponding organically grown versions as non GM. Water was
supplied for the mice to drink as they pleased. And he kept track of
all the food consumed each day.

Large cages were used so the mice had plenty of room to move around.
At the beginning, all the mice were weighed before they were put into the
cage with four bowls containing GM and non GM maize meal, and GM and
non GM soya meal respectively. The mice had not eaten for some time, but
amazingly, they already showed very definite food preferences. The
did'nt like soya meal at all, GM or non GM, and only one mouse was found
feeding on non GM soya meal for one minute in the 10 minutes they were

In the same period, 4 to 8 mice could be found in the bowl with non GM
maize, compared to 1 to 3 in the bowl with GM maize.

For the next week, Hinze continued to give the mice GM and non GM
maize or soya chunks (which they did eat) in addition to their staple food,
and measured the amount of each consumed daily over the next week. In all
nine successive observations, more non GM was eaten than GM for maize
or soya. In sum, the mice consumed 61% non GM and 39% GM food when
given free choice. The results were highly significant, even though Hinze
did not perform the statistical test.

For the next experiment, Hinze tested for the effects of GM food. By
this time, however, one mouse had died for unknown reasons. So he removed
another mouse from the experiment, assigned 14 to the group fed GM
food and 14 to the group fed non GM food after weighing them. Over the next
10 days, he kept track of the amount of food that the two groups consumed
each day, and weighed the mice, halfway through and at the end of the

The group fed GM ate more, probably because they were slightly heavier
on average to begin with, but they gained less weight. By the end, they
actually lost weight. In contrast, the group fed non GM ate less and
gained more weight, continuing to gain weight until the end of the
experiment. The results were statistically significant.

That was not the only difference observed. There were marked
behavioural differences, though Hinze admitted, these were "subjective"
and not quantitative. The mice fed GM food "seemed less active while in
their cages". The differences in activity between the two cages grew as the
experiment progressed, the mice in the non-GM cage were in the
exercise wheel more often than those in the GM cage. Hinze also noticed
that each time he came into the room, there tended to be more mice in the
non GM cage walking or climbing around than in the GM cage.

The most striking difference was when the mice were weighed at the end
of the experiment. The mice fed GM food were "more distressed" than the
other mice. "Many were running round and round the basket, scrabbling
desperately in the sawdust, and even frantically jumping up the sides,
something I'd never seen before." They were clearly more nervous than
the mice from the other cage. "For me this was the most disconcerting
evidence that GM food is not quite normal."

Another "interesting result" is that one of the mice in the GM cage
was found dead at the end of the experiment.

He concluded, "At the end of everything, I must admit that the
experiment has done nothing to soothe my qualms concerning genetically
enhanced food." His results "do seem to agree with Pusztai's".

Hinze is tall and athletic, and definitely doesn't like GM food. He is
pleased to have found all that out for himself, and suggests everyone
should do the same.

He has put the scientists to shame, especially those who have
condemned Pusztai's work, but have done nothing since to add to
our knowledge.

The Institute of Science in Society
PO Box 32097,
London NW1 OXR
Tel: 44-20-8731-7714

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