Scientists React to Republished Séralini GMO Maize Rat Study

Farmer Gene

A controversial study, “Long term toxicity of a Roundup herbicide and a Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize”, purporting to show that glyphosate-resistant type of maize (corn) causes health problems was republished this week in the journal Environmental Sciences Europe.  The research by Gilles-Eric Séralini of the University of Caen in France, claims that rats fed the modified maize glyphosate-resistant type of maize (corn) suffered kidney, liver, tumors, and pituitary problems.

The Séralini study was retracted last year by Food and Chemical Toxicology, which published it in 2012. It was slated by toxicologists for its poor use of statistics, and the republished study has received just as much criticism.

TheNew Scientist, along with a handful of other outlets including Nature, Forbes, Science Media Centre and The Innovation Files, reported on the re-publication of the Séralini rat study.

GMO Answers has posted to its site a Genetic Literacy Project piece highlighting responses from scientists worldwide to the study and raw data release.  While readers will notice that the Séralini study continues to receive criticism and reproach from credible scientists and peer-reviews, there are still some supporters.

Below is a sample of these responses as reported by the Genetic Literacy Project:

Bruce Chassy, professor emeritus of food safety and nutritional sciences from the Department of Food Science and Nutrition at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, said:

The original Séralini paper was rejected for many reasons. Perhaps the most important of these was that the design of the study and the described methods for data collection were fatally flawed in a number of ways. No amount of rewriting or excuses for faults can make the data whole again. When the data are faulty, the experiment must be repeated with proper design and methods…

Christopher Preston, lecturer in the School of Agriculture, Food and Wine at the University of Adelaide said:

The sample sizes are too small, and there are too many treatments and not enough controls. The wrong breed of rat is used. As it is prone to high numbers of tumours, there is going to be a lot of noise and not enough statistical power. There is no dose response, i.e. they were just measuring noise. There are ethical issues with the treatment of the rats…

Wayne Parrot, professor of crop science at the University of Georgia Institute of Plant Breeding, Genetics & Genomics, and Department of Crop & Soil Sciences, said:

 Séralini to this day fails to say what about modification would cause cancer. It is as if a magical carcinogenic aura was imposed on the GMO… Séralini is not even in the ballpark.

Marcel Kuntz, biologist, director of research at Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS, France) and professor at University of Grenoble-Alpes, said:

The authors reach essentially the same conclusions that were already refuted and they don’t take into account the fundamental criticisms addressed to them…

Jack Heinemann, professor of molecular biology and genetics at the University of Canterbury New Zealand, said:

This study has arguably prevailed through the most comprehensive and independent review process to which any scientific study on GMOs has ever been subjected.

Continue to read numerous responses from scientists worldwide in their entirety here in GLP’s Scientists React to Republished Séralini GMO Maize Rat Study.

 Continue to visit GMO Answers for all of your GMO questions!

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One Response to Scientists React to Republished Séralini GMO Maize Rat Study

  1. Good news: the retracted Seralini work needs to be accessible to the public, as an egregious example of flawed research, and flawed peer-review.

    However, this is NOT re-publication! The abstract summarizing the main conclusions of the paper was changed substantially. Since the main flaws of the paper were the study design and interpretation of the data, the abstract should have been republished verbatim. (Did the Springer editor forget to check the two versions? If not, why didn’t she explain why Seralini was allowed to change the abstract?)

    The original version of the article is still available on the Elsevier website, albeit with the word “RETRACTED” superimposed on every page, so what is the purpose of re-publishing? In addition, the copyright of the original version is held by Elsevier, so how come Springer is not infringing? Surely, Elesevier would not want to license the text to an outside publisher?

    Finally, the Seralini group claimed that it had a large amount of data that would not fit in it’s original publication: instead of rehashing old data, why wasn’t the paper re-worked, to include the expanded data-set?

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