Sunday, November 25, 2012

Discussion of Controversy Over Latest Study to Find GM Harms

Majia here: A recently published study on the long-term toxicity of GM corn generated considerable publicity, concern, and controversy. 

Here is an excerpt from an article describing the latest GM study on rats and tumors:

Study on Monsanto GM corn concerns draws skepticism By Ben Hirschler and Kate Kelland, Reuters 20 September 12 Reuters
Gilles-Eric Seralini of the University of Caen and colleagues said rats fed on a diet containing NK603 - a seed variety made tolerant to dousings of Monsanto's Roundup weedkiller - or given water with Roundup at levels permitted in the United States, died earlier than those on a standard diet....

Michael Antoniou, a molecular biologist at King's College London, who helped draft the paper, told reporters at a London briefing that its findings highlighted the "need to test all GM crops in two-year lifelong studies".

"I feel this data is strong enough to withdraw the marketing approval for this variety of GM maize temporarily, until this study is followed up and repeated with larger number of animals to get the full statistical power that we want," he said.

Majia here: Now, see the article below published in Environmental Health Perspectives on the resulting controversy of this study by Seralini:.

A Closer Look at GE Corn Findings Wendee Nicole Environmental Health Perspectives

[Excerpted] A long-term animal toxicity study claiming adverse effects of genetically engineered (GE) corn1 has caused an international maelstrom. The study examined how exposure to the herbicide Roundup® and NK603 Roundup Ready® maize (GE corn engineered to withstand glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup) affected Sprague-Dawley rats over a 2-year period, roughly equivalent to 65 years in humans.2 

Images from the paper of enormous tumors in the rats have riveted the public, yet researchers and industry have raised numerous concerns about the design of the study, which was led by Gilles-Eric Séralini, a molecular biology professor at the University of Caen in France. The authors also came under fire for insisting journalists sign an agreement preventing contact with third parties prior to publication, an unheard-of embargo term,3 which they claimed would prevent leaks of the sensitive paper.4

....But the authors say their study was intended to extend the 90-day trials conducted by Roundup and NK603 manufacturer Monsanto8—which formed the basis of past safety assessments of the corn—over a longer period to better assess long-term exposure. Although many criticized the use of tumor-prone Sprague-Dawley rats, these animals “represent a human equivalent model regarding the most frequent tumors,” says Fiorella Belpoggi, director of the Cesare Maltoni Cancer Research Centre of the Ramazzini Institute.9

... Seralini’s 2-year study “proves that 90-day studies cannot show anything as the first tumours did not start to show until the fourth or fifth month.”3

Indeed, the observation that tumors first developed at 4 months, with most appearing after 18 months, does allude to ongoing concerns about the lack of mandatory premarket long-term testing of GE foods. “It certainly suggests we ought to do longer-term feeding studies,” says Ted Schettler, science director of the Science and Environmental Health Network. “A ninety-day feeding study is just not adequate.” The problem, investigators largely agree, is that the flaws in the study’s design and reporting render the data impossible to interpret....


HIGHLY RECOMMEND: Round-up and Birth Defects: Is the Public Being Kept in the Dark?

Huffington Post Lucia Graves "Roundup Birth Defects: Regulators Knew World's Best-Selling Herbicide Causes Problems, New Report Finds"

"Roundup: Birth Defects Caused By World's Top-Selling Weedkiller, Scientists Say"

NYT: New Herbicide Suspected in Tree Deaths  



  1. La position de l’EFSA sur cette première évaluation de risque à long terme de maïs GM est intéressante, si non problématique. D’une part l’EFSA a durement critiqué l’étude française. D’autre part, il a fortement protégé d’autres études qui sont plus que discutables par leurs intégralités, par rapport aux très sérieuses études menés par des chercheurs Français. La science devrait être menée en toute impartialité par des personnes neutres et désintéressées, vous ne croyez-pas ?

  2. Yes I agree that science should be as "objective" as possible when it comes to experimental design and interpretation of empirical results.

    Unfortunately, science is for sale too often...


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