By vast

Published: June 7, 2018

Category: GMO News, The Organic & Non-GMO Report Newsletter

A camelina plant genetically engineered to produce omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA may reduce the learning ability of bees and other insects.

United Kingdom-based Rothamsted Research genetically engineered the oilseed crop to produce the two fatty acids because they are not produced by most plants. Rothamsted’s aim was to establish a plant-based production facility for omega-3 fatty acids like those found in fish.

However, a 2016 published study showed that feeding butterfly larvae on these same fatty acids (in this case, not produced from GM crops) resulted in wing deformities and heavier adults.

Also, a recent review of the literature on the potential impact of GM omega-3 crops on ecosystems has found that the addition of EPA and DHA into the GM camelina reduces, by at least half, the alpha-linolenic acid or ALA content of seed oil. Bees require ALA to maintain their health, growth, and survival. Honeybees fed ALA-deficient diets had greatly reduced learning abilities in conditioning experiments.

The authors warn, “The effects of dietary EPA and DHA on terrestrial insects appears to be variable and merits further investigation.”

Source: GM Watch

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