How to avoid allergies to genetically engineered foods
The first case of genetic allergy to genetically modified foods has been reported in the United States, according to a study published today in the journal Science.
The study was led by the University of Maryland School of Medicine and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and was funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders.
The researchers examined more than 1,000 adults in the New York City area and found that three out of five adults with a history of allergic reactions to genetically-modified foods reported experiencing an allergy to the foods.
“The data suggest that genetic allergy may be more common than previously recognized and that this genetic predisposition may be transmitted from parent to child,” said lead author Dr. Christopher A. Stapleton, a professor in the Department of Genetics at the University at Albany.
The team looked at saliva samples taken from more than 100 people and found nearly half of the individuals had a genetic predispose to allergy to GMOs.
The most common reaction to GMOs was eczema.
In the study, more than half of all the individuals in the study had eczematous eczealts, a rare allergy characterized by severe itching, redness, or swelling around the mouth and nose, the team reported.
In a second study, the researchers analyzed the DNA of a large group of people with eczemedias and found genetic variation in the DNA that was linked to a genetic response to the proteins in genetically engineered crops.
This genetic variation was found to be a marker of allergic responses to genetically manipulated crops, and the researchers reported in their study that the DNA variation associated with the eczemania gene was found in nearly 20 percent of the participants.
Other studies have shown that genetic predispositions to allergies are present in as many as 50 percent of people who eat genetically engineered products.
The new study provides additional evidence that genetically engineered food products are linked to allergy, as the genetic predisposing genetic variant was also found to correlate with a high rate of eczemia in the participants’ saliva samples.
The scientists also identified an association between eczemic eczems and a common genetic variant associated with eczenias, which has been linked to allergies to gluten.
The research was funded in part by the NIH, the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), the John Templeton Foundation, the University Health Network, the USDA National Institute for Health Research (NIER), and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
The study was published online today in Science.