Effects of transgenic poplar leaves with binary insect-resistance genes used as feed for rabbits

Liyan Yang, Yi Sun, Yaoshan Hao, Yixue Wang

Abstract

The aim of this work was to explore the potential toxicological effects on rabbits of transgenic poplar (Populus cathayana Rehd.) leaves with binary insect-resistance genes used as feed. Fifty-four 40-d-old weaned New Zealand White Rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) (live weight 0.98±0.1 kg) were fed for 70 consecutive days with a common pelleted diet and fresh poplar leaves containing a chitinase-BmkIT gene combination or untransformed counterparts (60 g/d). Rabbit body weight and hematological and biochemical data in blood samples were recorded. Organ histological structures were observed and the organ weights in the 2 groups were also measured. The results of the growth study revealed no significant differences (P>0.05) for final mean BW of rabbits, intake of the combined feed and poplar leaves or feed conversion ratio between the 2 groups. No obvious pathological changes were observed in the small intestine, stomach, spleen, kidney, lung, heart, bladder, pancreas, prostate and ovary. Electron microscopic observation of liver cells and renal cells showed they were both normal in the 2 groups. All hematological and biochemical data tested fell within the normal range in the 2 groups after 70 d of feeding. We conclude that the poplar leaves with the chitinase-BmkIT gene combination had no obvious harmful effects on rabbits.

Keywords

growing performance; blood haematology and biochemistry; rabbit; transgenic poplar

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