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Experts deny rumors about GMO food

(Chinadaily.com.cn)    08:42, September 26, 2018

Experts have refuted recent rumors circulating about genetically-modified food which have caused public concern.

A gene that might be a long-term health hazard to humans has been found in the body of Chinese people as a result of consumption of genetically-modified (GMO) food, according to an article which has circulated widely on popular social networking platform WeChat.

The article said the gene named "SCoAL", typically found in GMO food, has been detected in the chromosomes of dozens of ordinary people from China, citing a study published in a UK "science journal" called "Shelly Genetics Newswire".

The "SCoAl" gene is able to synthesize succinic acid in human body, which could interrupt the process of DNA replication, the article alleged. It also claimed the gene was detected in the body of the subjects' children, which means it could pass on to the next generation.

In a interview with the Science and Technology Daily, Lin Min, a researcher from the Biotechnology Research Institute of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, said the so-called "Shelly Genetics Newswire" mentioned in the article does not exist, and the "SCoAl" gene is a complete fabrication.

Lin said succinic acid is a chemical substance that exists in all organisms, thus it is normal to find it in GMO crops.

Another "fact" included in the article is the assertion the "World Expo 2010 in Shanghai strictly screened GMO food to prevent them from harming foreign guests' health, while GMO food is introduced to feed Chinese people."

In response to the claim, Fang Xuanchang, an expert from science popularization website agrogene.com, said genetically-engineered soybeans were used as ingredients for the cooking oil served at the expo.

The World Expo used GMO testing technique to met demands for labeling GMO food approved by the country, the Ministry of Science and Technology said in an April 2010 statement on its website.

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