Effect of Dietary Phytase Transgenic Corn on Physiological Characteristics and the Fate of Recombinant Plant DNA in Laying Hens

  • Gao, Chunqi (State Key Laboratory of Animal Nutrition, College of Animal Science and Technology, China Agricultural University) ;
  • Ma, Qiugang (State Key Laboratory of Animal Nutrition, College of Animal Science and Technology, China Agricultural University) ;
  • Zhao, Lihong (State Key Laboratory of Animal Nutrition, College of Animal Science and Technology, China Agricultural University) ;
  • Zhang, Jianyun (State Key Laboratory of Animal Nutrition, College of Animal Science and Technology, China Agricultural University) ;
  • Ji, Cheng (State Key Laboratory of Animal Nutrition, College of Animal Science and Technology, China Agricultural University)
  • Received : 2013.05.15
  • Accepted : 2013.08.19
  • Published : 2014.01.01


The study aimed to evaluate the potential effects of feeding with phytase transgenic corn (PTC) on organ weight, serum biochemical parameters and nutrient digestibility, and to determine the fate of the transgenic DNA in laying hens. A total of 144 50-week-old laying hens were grouped randomly into 2 treatments, with 8 replicates per treatment and 9 hens per replicate. Each treatment group of hens was fed with diets containing 62.4% non-transgenic conventional corn (CC) or PTC for 16 weeks. The phytase activity for CC was 37 FTU/kg of DM, whereas the phytase activity for PTC was 8,980 FTU/kg of DM. We observed that feeding PTC to laying hens had no adverse effect on organ weight or serum biochemical parameters (p>0.05). A fragment of a poultry-specific ovalbumin gene (ov) was amplified from all tissues of hens showing that the DNA preparations were amenable to PCR amplification. Neither the corn-specific invertase gene (ivr) nor the transgenic phyA2 gene was detected in the breast muscle, leg muscle, ovary, oviduct and eggs. The digestibility data revealed no significant differences between the hens that received the CC- and PTC-based diets in the digestibility of DM, energy, nitrogen and calcium (p>0.05). Phosphorus digestibility of hens fed the PTC-based diet was greater than that of hens fed the CC-based diet (58.03% vs 47.42%, p<0.01). Based on these results, it was concluded that the PTC had no deleterious effects on the organ weight or serum biochemical parameters of the laying hens. No recombinant phyA2 gene was detected in muscle tissues and reproductive organs of laying hens. The novel plant phytase was efficacious in improving the phosphorus digestibility of laying hens.


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