Anti-GM Food Proponents and Research

Here’s a video that a friend of mine linked to on youtube.

It’s short, less than 3 minutes.  And more interestingly comments are disabled.
There’s probably a very good reason that comments are disabled…

Because the statements made in the video are lies.
They just don’t think you’ll check.

Here’s the September release of the journal mentioned in the video: Food and Chemical Toxicology

There are three articles that I could find that MIGHT be related to the video.  It’s hard to tell because no article mentions anything about Round-up(tm). But let’s look at the 3 relevant articles and see if we can piece together something.

The first one is: A 90-day subchronic feeding study of genetically modified maize expressing Cry1Ac-M protein in Sprague–Dawley rats

I jumped on this one because it’s the only one that mentions a timed study, but 90 days isn’t a “long term” study.  At least I wouldn’t consider it so.  Maybe some researchers who routinely work with lab rats can let me know if 90 days constitutes a long-term study.  Regardless, let’s look at some bullet points from the abstract.

  • The subchronicstudy of BT-38 maize with cry1Ac-M gene was conducted.
  • No adverse effect was observed in the rats consumed GM maize.
  • No residual Cry1Ac-M protein was detected in the serum of rats consuming GM maize.
  • BT-38 maize is as safe as conventional non-GM maize.

Hmmm… must not be the right article then, because this article (in a 90-day study) shows that GM maize is just as safe as non-GM maize.

Let’s try the next one: Subchronic feeding study of stacked trait genetically-modified soybean (3Ø5423 × 40-3-2) in Sprague–Dawley rats

This is another 90-day research run, but it’s about soybeans.  The rats were fed 7.5%, 15%, or 30% GM soybeans or non-GM soybeans.  Now, think about that a second.  Some of the experimental rats were given 30% of their diet as GM-soybeans.  That’s like eating an entire big mac made of nothing but soybeans a day, every day, for 3 months.  Surely, this has some interesting results.

  • No adverse effect was observed in the rats consumed stacked GM soybean.
  • Stacked GM soybean 3Ø5423 × 40-3-2 is as safe as conventional non-GM soybean.

Oh… umm… OK.  There’s one more article to look at.  Otherwise, I’m stumped to find what this clown is talking about.

Aminotriazole attenuated carbon tetrachloride-induced oxidative liver injury in mice

Ah ha!  Liver damage in mice.  That’s got to be it… except there’s absolutely zero mention of GM crops.  Also, one might be interested in knowing that Aminotriazole is NOT Round-up(tm).  In fact, if you look at the Wikipedia article, Aminotriazole is NOT used on FOOD crops because it is a known carcinogen.  Yes, science already knew it was unsafe.  But there is an interesting side note to this article.  Let’s look at the abstract.

Carbon tetrachloride (CCl4) has been used extensively to study xenobiotic-induced oxidative liver injury. Catalase (CAT) is a major antioxidant enzyme while aminotriazole (ATZ) is commonly used as a CAT inhibitor. In the present study, the effects of ATZ on CCl4-induced liver injury were investigated. Our experimental data showed that pretreatment with ATZ significantly decreased CCl4-induced elevation of serum aspartate transaminase (AST) and alanine transaminase (ALT) and improved hepatic histopathological abnormality. ATZ dose-dependently inhibited the activity of CAT, but it reduced the content of H2O2 and the levels of malondialdehyde (MDA) in liver tissues. ATZ decreased plasma level of pro-inflammatory cytokines (TNF-α and IL-6) and reduced hepatic levels of myeloperoxidase (MPO). In addition, posttreatment with ATZ also decreased the level of ALT and AST. These data indicated that ATZ effectively alleviated CCl4-induced oxidative liver damage. These findings suggested that ATZ might have potential value in preventing oxidative liver injury.

my emphasis

So, the ATZ (that’s Aminotriazole) can actually REDUCE liver damage due to other compounds.

Well, that’s definitely not the right article.  So someone, anyone, please tell me what this guy is talking about.  Unless, he’s looking at a completely different journal, then he’s either an idiot who didn’t do any research or he’s lying.  I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and just say idiot.


Updated: Well someone actually found the article.  No wonder I couldn’t find it.  In spite of what was said in the video, the article has not been published yet.  But here it is: Long term toxicity of a Roundup herbicide and a Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize.

I’m slightly suspicious of the conclusions.  Here’s why:

Full-size image (76 K)

Fig. 1. Mortality of rats fed GMO treated or not with Roundup, and effects of Roundup alone. Rats were fed with NK603 GM maize (with or without application of Roundup) at three different doses (11, 22, 33% in their diet: thin, medium and bold lines, respectively) compared to the substantially equivalent closest isogenic non-GM maize (control, dotted line). Roundup was administrated in drinking water at 3 increasing doses, same symbols (environmental (A), MRL in agricultural GMOs (B) and half of minimal agricultural levels (C), see Section 2). Lifespan during the experiment for the control group is represented by the vertical bar ± SEM (grey area). In bar histograms, the causes of mortality before the grey area are detailed in comparison to the controls (0). In black are represented the necessary euthanasia because of suffering in accordance with ethical rules (tumors over 25% body weight, more than 25% weight loss, hemorrhagic bleeding, etc.); and in hatched areas, spontaneous mortality.

OK, the line graphs show the mortality in the various groups when the rats were fed 11% Roundup Maize (thin lines), 22% (medium lines), and 33% (thick lines).  The dotted lines are the controls.  For males, the dotted lines are the same as or higher than the Roundup Maize.  For females, the dotted lines seem to be much lower.

One thing bothers me though.  Look at the y-axis.  These are the number of rates per group. Now, I don’t know how many rats per group we’re talking about here, but the difference in females being fed Roundup Maize vs the control varies from 5 to 3 animals.  Not percent, but 3, 4, or 5 animals.  That’s a little odd.

It actually gets better for the Maize that’s actually been sprayed with Roundup, the range becomes 2 to 5.  Curiously, the rats with only the 11% Round up Maize diet fared the worst in both groups.

Finally, in the Roundup only test, the difference is only 3 animals.  In that test, the researchers just poured Roundup into the rat’s drinking water.

The tiny little bar graphs compare the cause of death (hatched lines died naturally, dark bars had to be put down due to ethics laws).  For males, there is almost no significance to the deaths.

Again, females show a much worse response.  But isn’t it interesting that the 33% all did better than the 11% and 22%?

I agree that there seems to be some kind of interaction with the female system in some way, but I want to know how many animals were actually used in these groups.  Maybe I’ll write the authors and see what they have to say.  Stay tuned.

I still maintain that the authors of that video are idiots.  Without giving references, then no one can see what they are talking about.

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5 Responses to Anti-GM Food Proponents and Research

  1. OgreMkV says:

    Update, just checked the August and October issues as well… no mention of this long term study at all.

  2. Pingback: Research on Round-up Tolerant GM Maize | Cassandra's Tears

  3. OgreMkV says:


    There is a video out where the PI talks about the decisions he made in this study. I haven’t seen it, I lost the link and it has vanished into the bowels of the internet.

    However, I don’t see how an explanation of the methods changes the results… which are utterly and completely inconclusive.

  4. Pingback: How to Report a GM-Feed Study | Cassandra's Tears

  5. Lance Bowers says:

    The 90 day sub-cronic feeding study sites:
    “For the assessment of potential adverse effects of long-term exposure of foods derived
    from GM crops, ninety-day rodent feeding studies were recommended
    (FAO/WHO, 1996) and the sensibility of these studies to detect
    potential adverse effects has been documented (EFSA, 2008).” I think these guys were independent and unbiased. The world Health Organization has set up the 90 day study as a standard for testing safety in rats. I tend to trust documented science that is peer reviewed such as this article. Misinformation is dangerous especially when we have projected food shortages. GMO’s may be the answer.

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