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(NaturalNews) Pregnant goats fed a diet of genetically modified (GM) soybeans produced small, slow-growing offspring compared with goats fed a diet of non-GM soybeans, according to a study conducted by Italian researchers and published in the journal Small Ruminant Research.

The soybeans used in the study were “Roundup Ready,” engineered for resistance to Monsanto’s global bestselling herbicide Roundup (glyphosate). This is the GM soybean variety most widely grown around the world.

Further analysis revealed that the milk produced by the goats fed GM soy was less nutritious and contained lower levels of a key growth-promoting class of antibodies.

Milk from GMO-fed goats is deficient

Sixty days before kidding, the researchers assigned pregnant Cilentana goats to be fed a diet containing either Monsanto’s Roundup Ready soybeans at one of two different concentrations or the same concentrations of non-GM soybeans. After birth, the kids were fed only their mothers’ milk for 60 more days. The growth of the kids was assessed at 30 and 60 days after birth.

The researchers found that kids of mothers fed GM soy were an average of 20 percent shorter and weighed 20 percent less than kids from the control groups.

Analysis of the mothers’ colostrum (the type of milk produced for the first period following birth) revealed surprising findings. The milk from the mothers fed GM soy was significantly lower in quality, with lower levels of both fat and protein. For example, the milk from the control goats was 18 percent protein, while the milk from the GMO-fed goats was only 6 percent protein. These differences disappeared after several weeks. Perhaps even more significantly, the antibody composition was significantly different between the two groups. Milk from mothers fed GM soy had significantly lower levels of IgG antibodies, which promote growth and development of the immune system.

“This was a carefully conducted study,” said Judy Carman of the Institute of Health and Environmental Research, Australia, who was not involved in the research.

“The differences in the composition of the colostrum between the mothers fed the GE soy and the non-GE soy were particularly striking. The colostrum from the GE-fed mothers contained only 2/3 of the fat, 1/3 of the protein and close to half of the IgG of the mothers fed the non-GM soy.”

The researchers also detected transgenic (modified) DNA in the colostrum of 10 of the 16 GMO-fed goats, and in none of the colostrum of the control goats. This confirms prior findings that transgenic DNA from the diet can pass into the milk of ruminant mammals.

Another reason to avoid GM crops and Roundup

Because there was no significant difference in size between kids from the two groups at birth, the researchers believe that the differences observed in the mothers’ milk likely account for the growth differences in the kids. There might also have been other changes in nutrient content of the milk that the researchers did not test for.

Significantly, prior studies have shown that IgG antibodies also play a role in nutrient absorption by promoting newborn gut development.

“It is already known that Roundup Ready soybeans have various defects including a Manganese deficiency,” said Allison Wilson of The Bioscience Resource Project, who was not involved in the study. “Yet regulators and GMO developers have continuously dismissed credible reports of GMO crops causing apparent harm to animals, from many different research groups.”

Roundup Ready crops are also known to be coated with higher average levels of glyphosate residue than non-GM crops. Glyphosate, in turn, has been linked to various toxic effects, including on the reproductive system and on growth and development, in addition to causing cancer.

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