Effect of dietary supplementation of recombinant Cry and Cp4 epsps proteins on haematological indices of growing rabbits

Genetically modified (GM) crops expressing insect resistance and herbicide tolerance provide a novel approach for improved crop production but their advent at the same time presents serious challenges in terms of food safety. Although prevailing scientific proof has suggested that transgenic crops are analogous to their conventional counterparts, their use in human and animal diet gave rise to emotional public discussion. A number of studies had been conducted to evaluate the potential unintended effects of transgenic crops expressing single transgene, but very few studies for those with multiple transgenes. As the crops with single and multiple transgenes could impart different effects on non‐target organisms, thus, risk evaluation of transgenic crops expressing more than one transgene is required to declare their biosafety. The present study was therefore designed to assess the effects of different levels of dietary transgenic cottonseed expressing recombinants proteins produced by Cry1Ac, Cry2A and Cp4epsps genes on haematological indices of growing rabbits. A total of 48 rabbits were assigned to four dietary treatments containing different levels of transgenic cottonseeds (i.e., 0% w/w, 20% w/w, 30% w/w and 40% w/w) with 0% w/w serving as control. Haematological parameters were measured at periodic intervals (0, 45, 90, 135 and 180) days. No significant (p > 0.05) dose‐dependent effects were observed in most of the haematological parameters evaluated. Though, significant differences (p < 0.05) were recorded in the level of MCHC, MCH and HCT in some of experimental male and female rabbits, yet, they were not biologically significant, as all the differences were within the normal reference values. Our study suggested that feeding transgenic cottonseed of up to 40% could not adversely affect rabbit’s haematological profile. However, further study needs to be conducted with different cotton genotypes expressing both single and polygenic traits before recommending the utilization of transgenic cottonseed in routine livestock feeding.

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