Genetic modification using gene transfer (GM) is still controversial when applied to plant breeding at least in Europe. One major concern is how GM affects other genes and thus the metabolism of the plant. In this study, 225 genetically modified lines of the ornamental plant Gerbera hybrida and 42 non-GM gerbera varieties were used to investigate changes in secondary metabolism. The cytotoxicity of GM and non-GM gerbera extracts was evaluated on human cell lines derived from lung, liver, and intestinal tissues. The results indicate that the safety profile for GM gerbera lines is similar to the viability pattern for non-GM varieties-none of the extracts were toxic. In addition, metabolic fingerprints of gerbera extracts were identified using thin-layer chromatography and analysed by principal component analysis (PCA), the nearest neighbour classifier, and Fligner-Killeen test. No new compounds unique to GM lines were observed. With PCA, no separation between GM gerbera lines and varieties could be demonstrated. In the nearest neighbour classifier, 54% of the samples found the expected neighbour based on the gene constructs used for transformation. With Fligner-Killeen test, we studied if the amounts of compounds vary more in GM gerberas than in varieties. In most cases, there were no statistically significant differences between the varieties and GM lines or there was more variation among the non-GM varieties than in the GM lines. The variance of a single compound was significantly larger in transgenic gerbera lines than in varieties and of three compounds in non-GM varieties.
Fields of Science
- 414 Agricultural biotechnology
- 411 Agriculture and forestry