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SCIENCE & RISK ASSESSMENT: SÚralini case: Journal withdraws controversial French GM study



                                  PART 1


------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:   SéRALINI CASE: JOURNAL WITHDRAWS CONTROVERSIAL FRENCH GM STUDY

SOURCE:  Reuters

AUTHOR:  Kate Kelland

URL:     http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/12/02/us-science-gm-retraction-idUSBRE9AR0S820131202

DATE:    09.12.2013

SUMMARY: "The publisher of a controversial and much-criticized study suggesting genetically modified corn caused tumors in rats has withdrawn the paper after a year-long investigation found it did not meet scientific standards."

----- archive: http://www.genet-info.org/information-services.html -----


SéRALINI CASE: JOURNAL WITHDRAWS CONTROVERSIAL FRENCH GM STUDY

The publisher of a controversial and much-criticized study suggesting genetically modified corn caused tumors in rats has withdrawn the paper after a year-long investigation found it did not meet scientific standards.

Reed Elsevier's Food and Chemical Toxicology (FCT)journal, which published the study by the French researcher Gilles-Eric Seralini in September 2012, said the retraction was because the study's small sample size meant no definitive conclusions could be reached.

"This retraction comes after a thorough and time-consuming analysis of the published article and the data it reports, along with an investigation into the peer-review behind the article," the journal said in a statement.

"Ultimately, the results presented - while not incorrect - are inconclusive, and therefore do not reach the threshold of publication for Food and Chemical Toxicology."

At the time of its original publication, hundreds of scientists across the world questioned Seralini's research, which said rats fed Monsanto's GM corn had suffered tumors and multiple organ failure.

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) issued a statement in November 2012 saying the study by Seralini, who was based at France's University of Caen, had serious defects in design and methodology and did not meet acceptable scientific standards.

Within weeks of its appearance in the peer-reviewed journal, more than 700 scientists had signed an online petition calling on Seralini to release all the data from his research.

In its retraction statement, the FCT said that, in light of these concerns, it too had asked to view the raw data.

Seralini "agreed and supplied all material that was requested by the editor-in-chief", it said.

The journal said that, while it had received many letters expressing concerns about the validity of the findings, the proper use of animals and even allegations of fraud, its own investigation found "no evidence of fraud or intentional misrepresentation of the data".

"However, there is a legitimate cause for concern regarding both the number of animals in each study group and the particular strain selected," it said.

Seralini, who works in Caen with a group called CRIIGEN, the Committee for Research and Independent Information on Genetic Engineering, said the journal's criticisms of his work were "unacceptable".

"Were FCT to persist in its decision to retract our study, CRIIGEN would attack with lawyers, including in the United States, to require financial compensation for the huge damage to our group," he said in a statement.

Other scientists, however, welcomed the journal's decision, although some said it had come too late.

"The major flaws in this paper make its retraction the right thing to do," said Cathie Martin, a professor at John Innes Centre. "The strain of rats used is highly susceptible to tumors after 18 months with or without GMO (genetically modified organisms) in their diets."

David Spiegelhalter, a professor of the Public Understanding of Risk at the University of Cambridge, said it was "clear from even a superficial reading that this paper was not fit for publication". In this instance, he said, the peer review process had not worked properly.

"But at least this has now been remedied and the journal has recognized that no conclusions can be drawn from this study, so I suppose it is better late than never," he said.



                                  PART 2

------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:   SéRALINI CASE: WHY A JOURNAL RETRACTED AN INFAMOUS CORN STUDY

SOURCE:  The Daily Caller

AUTHOR:  Rebecca Bernbach

URL:     http://dailycaller.com/2013/12/05/why-a-science-journal-retracted-an-infamous-anti-gmo-corn-study/

DATE:    09.12.2013

SUMMARY: "GMO opponents use a lot of shady evidence to try to demonstrate that genetically modified organisms are bad for human health, but no evidence is more infamous than the study looking into the ?Long term toxicity of a Roundup herbicide and a Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize? in 2012. And fortunately for science, technological progress and Facebook arguments everywhere, the journal that originally published this study has printed a retraction after an investigation of lax research practices."

----- archive: http://www.genet-info.org/information-services.html -----


SéRALINI CASE: WHY A JOURNAL RETRACTED AN INFAMOUS CORN STUDY

GMO opponents use a lot of shady evidence to try to demonstrate that genetically modified organisms are bad for human health, but no evidence is more infamous than the study looking into the ?Long term toxicity of a Roundup herbicide and a Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize? in 2012. And fortunately for science, technological progress and Facebook arguments everywhere, the journal that originally published this study has printed a retraction after an investigation of lax research practices.

Mice used in the study had a high incidence of tumors after being fed genetically modified corn for two years, specifically Roundup Ready corn created and patented by Monsanto. The outcome of this study has become one of the major pieces of evidence used to try to prove that GMOs are destructive to human health.

While allegations of fraud were cleared by the peer review process, large errors were discovered not only in the choice of species of rat used, but also the sample size used for research. While 120 mice were used for the experimental group, which was fed the Roundup pesticide, the genetically modified corn, or both, only 20 mice were used for a control group, too small to make accurate comparisons.

Not only was the sample size of rats used for the study too small, but the mouse species chosen for this study is already predisposed to growing tumors even without being exposed to carcinogen material, sometimes with as close to 80 percent of the species growing tumors.

Even the reporting of tumor growth within the study was skewed. The fact that some rats exposed to greater amounts of the pesticide and corn did better than the ones exposed to lower amounts, and the fact that rats exposed to the corn and rats exposed to the pesticide had the same reaction, were never explained or thoroughly analyzed in the paper.

Of course the controversy doesn?t stop there. There have immediately been allegations that anti-GMO boogeyman of choice, Monsanto, has had a hand in having the study retracted. But the biggest addition to the mire of controversy surrounding this study is the threat of a lawsuit lawsuit against the publisher by the researcher, Gilles-Eric Seralini, responsible for this study.

Seralini has not only been criticized for his shoddy research practices, but also for his seeming bias when it came to reporting accurate research results. Before publishing this study, Seralini has previously been an anti-GMO campaigner and even published an anti-GMO book and film within the same time period as the study in question.

The retraction of this study is a victory not only for proponents of GMOs and scientific innovation, but also a blow against the use of junk science and research. New technologies will always have naysayers and fearmongers following their development. The showboat, pseudoscientific attacks by anti-GMO activists have the same intentions as Thomas Edison filming the electrocution of a circus elephant, to scare the hell out of people about a new technology.

With the battle for GMO labeling beginning in the United States and already raging in Europe, consumers need to be armed with the facts, not junk science. And when even the journal that published the original GMO tumor study has published a study showing that GMOs cause no harm to humans, the anti-GMO activists begin to look like they have very little evidence to stand on. GMOs can not only help to more efficiently grow crops, but also can help to lower food costs and bring nutrient enhanced food to people starving in third world countries.



                                  PART 3

------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:   SéRALINI CASE: DOES GM CORN CAUSE CANCER IN RATS?

SOURCE:  Haaretz

AUTHOR:  

URL:     http://www.haaretz.com/news/world/1.562094

DATE:    09.12.2013

SUMMARY: "The publisher of a controversial and much-criticized study suggesting genetically modified corn caused tumors in rats has withdrawn the paper. "

----- archive: http://www.genet-info.org/information-services.html -----


SéRALINI CASE: DOES GM CORN CAUSE CANCER IN RATS?

The publisher of a controversial and much-criticized study suggesting genetically modified corn caused tumors in rats has withdrawn the paper.

A year-long investigation found it did not meet scientific standards.

Reed Elsevier's Food and Chemical Toxicology journal, which published the study by the French researcher Gilles-Eric Seralini in September 2012, said the retraction was because the study sample size was too small for definitive conclusions to be reachable.

"This retraction comes after a thorough and time-consuming analysis of the published article and the data it reports, along with an investigation into the peer-review behind the article," the journal said in a statement. "Ultimately, the results presented - while not incorrect - are inconclusive, and therefore do not reach the threshold of publication for Food and Chemical Toxicology."

Scientists raise eyebrows

At the time of the paper's publication, hundreds of scientists around the world questioned Seralini's research, which said rats fed Monsanto's GM corn had suffered tumors and multiple organ failure.

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) issued a statement in November 2012 saying the study by Seralini, who was based at France's University of Caen, had serious defects in design and methodology and did not meet acceptable scientific standards.

Within weeks of its appearance in the peer-reviewed journal, more than 700 scientists had signed an online petition calling on Seralini to release all the data from his research.

In its retraction statement, the FCT said that, in light of these concerns, it too had asked to view the raw data.

Seralini "agreed and supplied all material that was requested by the editor-in-chief", it said.

The journal said that, while it had received many letters expressing concerns about the validity of the findings, the proper use of animals and even allegations of fraud, its own investigation found "no evidence of fraud or intentional misrepresentation of the data".

"However, there is a legitimate cause for concern regarding both the number of animals in each study group and the particular strain selected," it said.

Scientist defends his work

Seralini, who works in Caen with a group called CRIIGEN, the Committee for Research and Independent Information on Genetic Engineering, said the journal's criticisms of his work were "unacceptable".

"Were FCT to persist in its decision to retract our study, CRIIGEN would attack with lawyers, including in the United States, to require financial compensation for the huge damage to our group," he said in a statement.

Other scientists, however, welcomed the journal's decision, although some said it had come too late.

"The major flaws in this paper make its retraction the right thing to do," said Cathie Martin, a professor at John Innes Centre. "The strain of rats used is highly susceptible to tumors after 18 months with or without GMO (genetically modified organisms) in their diets." 



                                  PART 4

------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:   SéRALINI CASE: THERE'S NOTHING WRONG WITH GM CROPS

SOURCE:  International Business Times

AUTHOR:  Mike Obel

URL:     http://www.ibtimes.com/case-closed-theres-nothing-wrong-genetically-modified-crops-1491818

DATE:    09.12.2013

SUMMARY: "Things aren?t going too well for groups opposed to genetically modified (GM) crops, and that?s good news for millions in the developing world who can?t get enough to eat."

----- archive: http://www.genet-info.org/information-services.html -----


SéRALINI CASE: THERE'S NOTHING WRONG WITH GM CROPS

Things aren?t going too well for groups opposed to genetically modified (GM) crops, and that?s good news for millions in the developing world who can?t get enough to eat.

Despite all the anti-GM crops theatrics, anti-capitalist bias and opposition to empirical science, nothing substantive has been produced that would dissuade most farmers from using genetically engineered seeds. Particularly when GM crops are designed to resist pests, require less fertilizer or water, and are more bountiful than conventional crops ? or some combination of these.

As a result, the use of GM seeds is growing exponentially. Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said this year?s corn harvest will be the biggest on record, some 14 billion bushels, and fully 98 percent of this output will be from GM seeds.

Farmers in developed countries aren?t the only ones taking advantage of GM crops. This year, for the first time in the nearly 20 years that GM crops have been available, farmers in developing countries have planted more acres with GM seeds ? 52 percent of the global total, according to the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications -- than their counterparts in developed nations.

U.S. farmers planted the most GM crops last year, but China, India, Brazil, Argentina and South Africa, which together account for some 40 percent of the world?s population, grew 46 percent of global biotech crops in 2012.

Perhaps the greatest factor spurring the use of GM crops is the dire need for food in the world, a situation that is worsening literally by the day. By 2050 the world?s population is expected to reach 9 billion, nearly 30 percent higher than today. To feed that population, more food will have to be grown over the next 50 years than has been grown in the last 10,000 years combined, according to Henrylito Tacio, East Asia contributing editor for PeopleAndThePlanet.com.

In certain countries, like Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, where starvation is endemic, GM crops can make a huge difference right now, according to the Center for Strategic & International Studies.

?Donor countries, as part of their broader food security and development aid, can support countries? efforts to pursue GM technology by providing scientific and technical assistance to scientists and regulators,? CSIS said in a statement. Meeting the planet?s growing food needs without genetically modifying the seeds will be virtually impossible, considering the challenges to traditional crops from global warming, drought, water shortages, and new strains of diseases and pests. Indeed, the use of pesticides to protect conventional crops are a double-edged sword because they often destroy many of the plants that they are meant to save.

GM foods are supported by a long list of established medical and scientific organizations, including the National Academies, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Medical Association, the European Commission, the Royal Society, and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

Last year the European Union?s chief scientist, Anne Glover, publicly endorsed the safety of such foods. ?The bottom line for me is that there is no more risk in GMO food than conventionally farmed food. It has nothing to do with genetic engineering, so if you decide that you want to implement the regulations in such a way that you want to prevent the use [of GMO food], then that has to be talked about, and people need to be clear why you have rejected it,? Glover said.

This week another blow was delivered to GM food opponents. The journal Food and Chemical Toxicology retracted a widely influential 2012 article that purported to establish a link between genetically modified maize and cancer. It turns out the study just wasn?t credible after all.

All of which means that there really is less controversy surrounding GM crops than it seems ? a lot of noise, to be sure -- but little question about which side is right.