Soy allergies jumped 50% in the U.K. just after GM soy was introduced.
If GM soy was the cause, it may be due to several things. The GM protein that makes Roundup Ready Soy resistant to the herbicide does not have a history of safe use in humans and may be an allergen. In fact, sections of its amino acid sequence are identical to known allergens.A portion of the transgene from ingested GM soybeans, along with the promoter that switches it on, transfers into human gut bacteria during ingestion. The fact that the transformed bacteria survives applications of Roundup’s active ingredient, glyphosate, suggests that the transgene continues to produce the Roundup Ready protein. If true, then long after people stop eating GM soy they may be constantly exposed to its potentially allergenic protein, which is being created within their gut. (This protein may be made more allergenic due to misfolding, attached molecular chains, or rearrangement of unstable transgenes, but there is insufficient data to support or rule out these possibilities.)Studies suggest that the GM transformation process may have increased natural allergens in soybeans. The level of one known allergen, trypsin inhibitor, was 27% higher in raw GM soy varieties. More worrisome, it was as much as sevenfold higher in cooked GM soy compared to cooked non-GM soy. Not only is this higher amount potentially harmful, the finding also suggests that the trypsin inhibitor in GM soy might be more heat stable and, therefore, even more allergenic than the natural variety.It is also possible that changes in GM soy DNA may produce new allergens. Although there has never been an exhaustive analysis of the proteins or natural products in GM soy, unpredicted changes in the DNA were discovered. A mutated section of soy DNA was found near the transgene, which may contribute to some unpredicted effects. Moreover, between this scrambled DNA and the transgene is an extra transgene fragment, not discovered until years after soy was on the market. The RNA produced is completely unexpected. It combines material from all three sections: the full-length transgene, the transgene fragment, and the mutated DNA sequence. This RNA is then further processed into four different variations, which might lead to the production of some unknown allergen.