Greenpeace said the discovery of the unknown sequence cast doubt over how much Monsanto knew about its product, calling on the UK government to re-examine the genetically modified soy.
De Loose said his work would help educate debate in Europe over whether to approve the sale and use of such crops, stating, "In my opinion the most important thing out of this research...is that we can give information and monitor data which can be used in a discussion on GMOs submitted for authorization in the future. Government now has the tools to check the quality of future GMOs."
Kimberly Wilson, a Greenpeace genetic engineering campaigner, was quoted as saying in a statement that, "Like Dr. Frankenstein, Monsanto has created a new life form but doesn't know what will happen when it's turned loose in the world."
A spokeswoman for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, commenting on the Belgian group's research, said the agency was "aware of it and is looking into it."
Monsanto spokesman Bryan Hurley was quoted as saying, "This isn't a (food) safety issue. The information about the soybeans were characterized by Monsanto more than a year ago and we have shared that with regulatory authorities throughout the world."
He said the unidentified gene fragments could be the result of DNA being "rearranged" as a result of the process when the bacterium to make the plants resistant to Roundup Ready soybeans was inserted.
"It's been there since the point of the original transformation 10 years ago and throughout all of the safety tests," he said, adding that new high-precision equipment allowed the company to detect the alien fragments. "We are better able to see the stars than a hundred years ago. It doesn't mean the stars have changed, just your perspective.... It's the same principle," Hurley said.
Hurley said he did not foresee any loss of consumer confidence in foods produced from gene-altered crops.
"As we characterize things better, it doesn't change the fundamental safety questions that are addressed and have for a long time been established," he said.