Was Seralini GMO study designed to generate negative outcome?
The science & academic reaction appears to be overwhelming critical of this study funded and conducted by opponents of ag-biotech. Rats predisposed to tumors and cancer, non-standard statistical analyses and refusing to release data for peer review? Sounds fishy!
- (Note: Apologies for any duplication - a database crash at Storify lost the originally published version of this post.)
Were these anti-GMO research claims about health risks rigged from the start? French media reports the Seralini research group engaged in bizarre tactics in orchestrating the publicity around their claims in coordination with anti-biotechnology campaigners around the globe. They used encrypted emails, issued disinformation about a "decoy study," prevented their researchers from making outside phone calls, and required strict non-disclosure agreements preventing journalists from getting independent review of the work from third-party sources.
Even Marion Nestle, a frequent critic of biotech and organic supporter, doesn't believe these claims. She told the Washington Post, "I can’t figure it out yet. It’s weirdly complicated and unclear on key issues: what the controls were fed, relative rates of tumors, why no dose relationship, what the mechanism might be. I can’t think of a biological reason why GMO corn should do this... I’m skeptical of this study.”
- NPR's science reporter Dan Charles reported, "Apart from methodological concerns and personal animosity, there's a deeper reason why scientists give little credence to Seralini's studies. There's a saying in science: Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. For most of the scientists who have been studying the safety of GMOs, it's an extraordinary claim, at this point, to assert that the current generation of genetically modified crops are harmful to human health. There's no apparent reason why that should be trueT; No one has found new toxic substances in these crops. And the giant feeding experiment that's been going on for the past fifteen years — hundreds of millions of Americans consuming GMO ingredients — hasn't produced evidence of harm, either..."
- Forbes reports, "The politest thing we can say about the research so far is that they haven’t managed to prove that it is true, no. Scientists working in the area have been, how shall we put this, less than complimentary about some of the methods used..." Forbes notes one independent academic source pleased to see the Seralini work. The Statistical Laboratory at the University of Cambridge was "grateful for the authors for publishing this paper, as it provides a fine case study for teaching a statistics class about poor design, analysis and reporting." Adding they "shall start using it immediately.
- According to the New York Times, "Dr. Séralini’s work has been questioned before. A review of one of his studies by European authorities concluded that his statistical methods “led to misleading results” and that his study had not raised new issues about the safety of the crop..." So this time Dr. Séralini’ is refusing to release the data upon which his study was based to the European Food Safety Agency or other academics for expert analysis or peer review.
- This time, Seralini says making his research data available to the European Food Safety Agency - which is responsible for regulating and approving GMOs is "out of the question..." So, while Seralini and other opponents of biotech are now demanding EFSA use their findings to withdraw approvals of these biotech crops, they are refusing to provide any of the data upon which their findings are based (a standard practice which allows other scientists to replicate results and evaluate the data from the original study).
- The BBC reports: "In a move regarded as unusual by the media, the French research group refused to provide copies of the journal paper to reporters in advance of its publication, unless they signed non-disclosure agreements. The NDAs would have prevented the journalists from approaching third-party researchers for comment..."
- Why would a scientist whose past research has been funded by Greenpeace do this? The New Scientist magazine answers,"[Seralini's] research group has long been opposed to GM crops. It claimed in 2010 to have found evidence of toxicity in tests by the GM-crops giant Monsanto of its own Roundup-resistant maize. Other toxicologists, however, said the supposedly damning data revealed only insignificant fluctuations in the physiology of normal rats. French blogger Anton Suwalki, who campaigns against pseudoscience, has a long list of complaints about the group, including what he calls their "fantasy statistics".
- Like previous claims, once these new alarms of harm by Seralini and reports about the study (not the actual study details - as noted, Seralini refuses to share those) were published, the list of independent science and academic sources critical of the claims has been fast and furious...
Did you find this story interesting? like or comment as 5 already did!
- Alex DaleInformative summary.2013-08-13T10:39:03.513Z
- crk1Dr. Laibow, the rumored scientologist, member of the UFO movement, boy who cried wold-esque purveyor of false info on "Codex" (no retraction after the Dec 31...Dr. Laibow, the rumored scientologist, member of the UFO movement, boy who cried wold-esque purveyor of false info on "Codex" (no retraction after the Dec 31 2009 "initiative" failed to initiate), married to Men Who Stare at Goats inspiration (guy who thinks he can walk through walls), need I go on? Get out the tinfoil hat to deflect the BS-rays from Rima the psycho psychologist.more2013-03-04T23:45:22.362Z
- Cin AnInteresting summary, alternative health wackjob comments below notwithstanding. Why is it that anyone who shares reasonable and well sourced information that...Interesting summary, alternative health wackjob comments below notwithstanding. Why is it that anyone who shares reasonable and well sourced information that challenges the religious-like beliefs of "natural health" and organic advocates they attack you? "Dr. Laibow here "takes serious exception with YOUR article" - well my read of this summary is that it's not @vJayByrne's article - it's NPR, The Washington Post, the LA Times, etc... Dr. Laibow can spout off claims that this is all some conspiracy to vaccinate our children (not sure why she chose that reference) or other defenses, but most reasonable people will see this for the fanatically rantings that it represents. Thank you @vJayByrne for the summary of news reports - this helped me put this issue into context. And thanks to "Rima E Laibow MD" for making it very clear about they type of person who represents opposition to GMOs - I hope you find a nice island somewhere to live with your un-vaccinated children subsisting on organic foods. Count on enjoying a solid 40 year lifespan if you're all not wiped out by an outbreak of measles, mumps or rubella...more2012-10-05T15:37:19.111Z
- Rima E Laibow MDI am afraid that I must take serious exception with your article. I agree that skepticism is important in evaluating science (consider the pseudoscience of...I am afraid that I must take serious exception with your article. I agree that skepticism is important in evaluating science (consider the pseudoscience of vaccine research, for example, or pre-loaded and seriously distorted pharmaceutical research, which is the norm, it is also important to examine the premises of both research and criticism of research. You report Dan Charles of NPR saying "There's no apparent reason why that should be true; No one has found new toxic substances in these crops. And the giant feeding experiment that's been going on for the past fifteen years —millions of Americans consuming GMO ingredients — hasn't produced evidence of harm, either..."" There is, in fact, every apparent reason to expect that the Serilini study findings should be true. Inserting genes is not a precise, neat process. It is messy and the inserted genes, plus the phages and marker genes used along with the trait genes, cause massive disarray in the genome of the target cell. That disarray disrupts the relationship of the genetic architecture so that genes, whose expression is determined not only by their base sequence, but by their relationship to other parts of the codon, are altered both directly and indirectly. Novel proteins, some of which have never existed before in biological history, as far as we know, are produced in a chimeric fashion since cells are impacted in a chimeric fashion. Bacteria in the gut are altered through plasmid alteration and, given that 80% of the immune function of an individual is understood to rest in the GI tract, including the important function, and communication of the gut biota, these changes are, indeed, a huge experiment, as Mr. Charles calls it. There are, of course, ethical problems with experimenting upon people, in this case, a world full of them, without their informed consent. Nuremberg made that a world principle. Of course, the US, although a convener of the Nuremberg Trials, refused to sign the resulting Nuremberg Convention. I agree with Mr. Charles on the concept that GMO feeding studies have been conducted on the world population. They are uncontrolled and their results can only be inferred since it is forbidden by the FDA to label GMO products or ingredients. When confronted on this repressive and dangerous policy at a special Ad Hoc Working Group on GMO Labeling (Oslo, 2008), Dr. Barbara Schneemann, US delegate to that meeting, articulated that since US consumers would overwhelmingly reject GMO foods if they knew that they WERE GMOs, and since the FDA has administratively [and pseudo-scientifically – Dr. Rima] declared GMOs to be “substantially equivalent” to non GMOs, to prevent consumers from ‘making the mistake of rejecting GMOs’ [sic!], the FDA has made the labeling of GMOs illegal in the United States. Mr. Charles’ naïve assumption that unless a toxic chemical has been identified, no harm can come from this technology is breathtaking. We are looking at genetic, genomic and epistatic impact, not at simple toxicology of chemicals. Despite the fact that case law [Western ] and the US Constitution prohibits any such restriction, the lack of labeling makes precise evaluation of the results of this secret experiment impossible. What we do know is that serious allergies have skyrocketed since the unannounced start of this experiment. So have asthma, attention deficit disorder and other neurological conditions, especially in children, early macular degeneration (which I have seen in 17 year olds, despite the fact that it was previously defined as not occurring by definition in anyone younger than 65 years of age), cancers in younger and younger people, liver disease and failure (which is no epidemic in adolescents according to the CDC), infertility, sterility and auto immune disease to list only a few of the [I hope] unintended consequences of GMO infiltration of our food supply. No harm to human health? How would Mr. Charles know that, given the government-mediated secrecy of the contamination of the food supply with “experimental” materials in unlimited, un-quantified and unidentified amounts and forms? Other scientists have shown enormous harm to health: smaller kidneys, holes in the gut, decreased immune function, reproductive failure, birth defects, fetal loss, shortened life span, increased tumor formation, genetic alteration leading, for example, to hair in the oral cavities of third generation GMO chow fed rodents and more. I recently coined the term Genomic Disruption Syndrome (GDS) to describe the genomic changes which poorly studied inputs like GMOs are having on our genetic material, www.GDS-Therapy.com. Given the declining health of people who consume GMOs, it is reasonable to assume that their genome is being impacted negatively by them. Certainly, the genome of our gut bacteria, super weeds super bugs and plants contaminated by horizontal gene transfer is being negatively impacted. Why is it not reasonable to conclude that the precautionary principle might be applied to a technology which tampers with the very architecture of life, and that in secret? The biotech industry sees no need to release its data in its one-sided, highly questionable “studies”. Sertolini is quite correct in withholding his raw data to make the point clear. Two further points: 1. Which crops contain the Epicyte gene which causes both males and females to produce antibodies to sperm and which Monsanto and Dupont created a joint venture to “commercialize” in 2001? No harm to human health? Involuntary sterility seems harmful to me. These two biotech giants, supported by lapdog regulatory agencies are doing what to the genome without informed consent and 2. Large numbers of farmers report infertility and unexplained deaths in their GMO fed animals. In fact, the brief EU feeding trials on Monsanto’s corn were followed by the death of several of the small number of test animals. Clearly, these are, at best, highly questionable substances deployed in thoroughly unethical and unprincipled ways through the complicity of irresponsible regulatory agencies. I personally welcome the study under discussion and welcome its being replicated by other scientists. By the way, were I the good Professor, I would have insisted on similar tight security. The other side of the “debate” has never been known for its scruples in refraining from corrupt practices and industrial espionage. Yours in health and freedom, Dr. Rima Rima E. Laibow, MD Medical Director Natural Solutions Foundation www.HealthFreedomUSA.org Genome Disruption Syndrome www.GDS-Therapy.commore2012-10-01T17:46:15.915Z
- Camille (Cami) RyanGreat summary, Jay! *shared*2012-09-21T16:13:14.162Z