The Institute of Science in Society raises serious concerns about the Cauliflower Mosaic Viral Promoter found in commercial GMOS.

A recently released study by  Podevain and du Jardin in 2012 has demonstrated that the Cauliflower Mosaic Viral Promoter known as CaMV 35S is present in the majority of commercially grown genetically modified GMO crops in the United States. Among the affected are some of the most widely grown GMOs, including Roundup Ready soybeans (40-3-2) and MON810 maize. They include the controversial NK603 maize recently reported as causing tumors in rats (Seralini et al. 2012).

The Institute of Science in Society (ISIS) initially raised their concerns over the promoter in their paper titled “Cauliflower Mosaic Viral Promoter- A recipe for disaster” published in the journal of Microbial Ecology in Health and Disease in 1994.

The paper discussed that the promoter had a recombination hotspot that would enhance unintended horizontal gene transfer and recombination. The process would have the ability to create new viruses or activate old ones and trigger cancer in animal cells. The CaMV 35S promoter has the ability to function in different species, including human cells.

The synthetic promoters have been developed with fragments for additional gene expression and contain additional gene sequences that enhance their ability for inappropriate gene and phenotype expression.

In 1994 ISIS already warned about utilizing the CaMV 35S promoter in genetically modified organisms. The warning went unheeded.

Two different research teams have confirmed that the CaMV 35S promoter is active in both animal and human genes and  has also been linked to HIV. A study suggests that the promoter specifically induced transcription factors required for making CaMV and HIV genomes by reverse transcription.

A transcription factor is a protein that binds to specific DNA sequences, thereby controlling the flow (or transcription) of genetic information from DNA to mRNA. Transcription factors perform this function alone or with other proteins in a complex, by promoting (as an activator), or blocking (as a repressor) the recruitment of RNA polymerase (the enzyme that performs the transcription of genetic information from DNA to RNA) to specific genes.

What this means is a recipe for disaster, as the public has been coddled into safety by Monsanto’s claims that their GMO products are safe. Combined with an ineffective blustering FDA, who does not grasp the enormity of demanding long term safety studies into the efficacy of GMO crops, the public is once again facing a potential health crisis.


Ho MW, Ryan A, Cummins J. Cauliflower mosaic viral promoter – a recipe for disaster? Microb Ecol Health Dis 1999, 11, 194–7.

Ho MW, Ryan A, Cummins J. Hazards of transgenic plants with the cauliflower mosaic viral promoter. Microb Ecol Health Dis 2000, 12, 6–11.

Institute of Science in Society

Séralini, G-E., E. Clair, R. Mesnage, S. Gress, N. Defarge, M. Malatesta, D. Hennequin, J. Spiroux de Vendômois. 2012. Long term toxicity of a Roundup herbicide and a Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize. Food Chem. Toxicol.

Podevin N and du Jardin P.  Possible consequences of the overlap between the CaMV 35S promoter regions in plant transformation vectors used and the viral gene VI in transgenic plants. GM Crops and Food 2012, 3, 1-5.


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