Altered Proteins

Allergic reactions among commercial livestock are rare even though many traditional feed ingredients contain allergenic proteins, e.g., milk, eggs, legumes (peanut and soy), tree nuts, and cereals. To avoid allergens in transgenic crops, safety tests are conducted, e.g., susceptibility of transgenic protein to acidified pepsin. The development of GM crops has advanced scientific understanding about allergens and led to crops devoid of their normal allergens. Reducing digestion inhibitors (e.g., trypsin inhibitors, lectins, and viscous compounds) and eliminating indigestible components (e.g., oligosaccha-rides) can enhance digestibility and reduce the need for extensive feed processing. This can improve amino acid availability and energy availability. Transgenic crops are monitored for presence of compounds that adversely affect nontarget species and gastrointestinal microbes, but organisms closely related to a target can be impacted. For example, because the genus Coleoptera includes both the corn borer a target species and the Monarch butterfly, crops toxic for the corn borer are toxic to both species. Fortunately, differences in habitat and food selection patterns between target and nontarget species generally avoid adverse effects.

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