The presence of DNA fragments in tissues from rabbits given genetically modified (GM) soya-bean meal (solvent extracted) was investigated by using the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) approach. Moreover, the possible effects on cell metabolism were evaluated by determination of several specific enzymes in serum, heart, skeletal muscle, liver and kidney. The chloroplast sequence for tRNA Leu by using the Clor1/Clor2 primers designed on chloroplast trnL sequence was clearly detected. On the contrary, two couples of species specific primers for conventional (Le1-5/Le 1-3 which amplifies the soya bean lectin gene) and genetically modified (35S1/35S2 which amplifies the 35S CMV promoter that is present in the genomic structure of GM soya bean) soya bean were not found in all samples. No differences in enzyme levels were detected in serum, but a significant increase of lactic dehydrogenase, mainly concerning the LDH1 isoenzyme was found in particular in kidney and heart but not in the muscle, thus suggesting a potential alteration in the local production of the enzyme. Finally, no significant differences were detected concerning body weight, fresh organ weights and no sexual differences were detected.
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