Data on miRNA Transfer from Food into Human Body are Inconclusive
New Concerns of Genetic Material in Food Supply Spur Review of Research on Transmission
By Peter A. McCullough, MD, MPH
The news is buzzing about the food supply from fears over food shortages to genetic modification. When breeding and using forms of intentional selection based on size and quality of food products—farmers have leveraged genetics; what we eat are the products of these efforts but the foods themselves should not influence our own genetic code. Advances in molecular biology have brought forward new issues of “intentional modification” of food with RNA or DNA and what that could mean to the consumer.
MicroRNA (miRNA) are short strands of RNA that are not large enough to code for a protein themselves but work as smaller regulators within the human genome. It is believed that miRNAs are involved in both health and disease.
Mar-Aguilar et al, reviewed the literature on experiments that attempted to get miRNA into food, ingested, and be absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract into mammals. In short, the studies were conflicting largely because miRNA was difficult to measure in vivo at the time the studies were performed. As you can see selected studies from the evidence table are not conclusive, however, some were able to show absorption.
Thus at this time, it is important to support Missouri HB 1169 and other similar transparency legislation that asks food suppliers to label items if genetic material is present that could enter and alter processes within the human body.
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Mar-Aguilar F, Arreola-Triana A, Mata-Cardona D, Gonzalez-Villasana V, Rodríguez-Padilla C, Reséndez-Pérez D. Evidence of transfer of miRNAs from the diet to the blood still inconclusive. PeerJ. 2020 Sep 17;8:e9567. doi: 10.7717/peerj.9567. PMID: 32995073; PMCID: PMC7502231.
HB 1169 Missouri House Bill This bill specifies that any product that acts as, or exposed to processes that could result in the product potentially acting as, a gene therapy or that could possibly impact, alter, or introduce genetic material or a genetic change into the user of the product or certain other people must be conspicuously labeled with the words "Potential Gene Therapy Product", and reasonable steps must be taken to ensure a potential purchaser or user is made aware of the presence of this label. If a product is known to be a gene therapy product, the product must be conspicuously labeled with the words "Gene Therapy Product".