Computational sequence analysis of predicted long dsRNA transcriptomes of major crops reveals sequence complementarity with human genes.

GM crops & food

PubMedID: 23787988

Jensen PD, Zhang Y, Wiggins BE, Petrick JS, Zhu J, Kerstetter RA, Heck GR, Ivashuta SI. Computational sequence analysis of predicted long dsRNA transcriptomes of major crops reveals sequence complementarity with human genes. GM Crops Food. 2013;4(2):90-7.
Long double-stranded RNAs (long dsRNAs) are precursors for the effector molecules of sequence-specific RNA-based gene silencing in eukaryotes. Plant cells can contain numerous endogenous long dsRNAs. This study demonstrates that such endogenous long dsRNAs in plants have sequence complementarity to human genes. Many of these complementary long dsRNAs have perfect sequence complementarity of at least 21 nucleotides to human genes; enough complementarity to potentially trigger gene silencing in targeted human cells if delivered in functional form. However, the number and diversity of long dsRNA molecules in plant tissue from crops such as lettuce, tomato, corn, soy and rice with complementarity to human genes that have a long history of safe consumption supports a conclusion that long dsRNAs do not present a significant dietary risk.