I’ve had some requests for additional commentary on one of the major issues with this long term genetically modified food study.
First of all, the study claims that GM food and Roundup ™ cause cancer and kill rats. That’s wrong. They cannot make this claim.
Second, the problems with this study do not mean that GM food and Roundup ™ is 100% safe.
The study is so poorly designed and analyzed that no claims can be made about this study. Anyone, and I mean anyone, who makes a claim using this study, doesn’t have a clue about how science works.
Let’s go through a simulated question and answer period. I like to think that I would have used this if I had been given a review copy of the paper.
Me: “So, the male rats eating 33% GM corn sprayed with pesticide all died. All ten of them.”
Me: “But the control rats, who didn’t get any GM feed or pesticide treatment died of the same causes at 70% or 7 of the ten rats?”
Me: “So what killed the control rats?”
Seralini: “That’s not in our report.”
Me: “But what was it?”
Seralini: “I don’t know.”
Me: “Then how do you know that whatever killed the control rats didn’t also kill the experimental rats?”
And that’s the entire issue right there. If every single control rat had survived with zero tumors, then one might be able to make the claim that there was a link between the cancers and the GM feed/pesticide.
But that’s not what happened. In fact, in the male rats, out of 9 experimental groups, the control groups had MORE deaths than 8 of them.
Something was killing the rats, but there can be no link drawn between the GM corn and the deaths. Because we don’t know what killed the control rats, so we (and I mean no one) can say that the deaths in the experimental groups was not caused by the same thing that killed the control rats. We simply don’t know.
If Seralini had bothered to do a statistical analysis of his work, then he would have seen that instantly. Honestly, myself and a bunch of other scientists are shocked that this paper was cleared for publication. I think (and this happened to Seralini before) that is was cleared to prevent claims of ‘suppressing’ anti-GM experiments. Which is just conspiracy theory writ large.
People have all kinds of idiotic ideas about what scientists are like. Unfortunately, they spend to much time reading Spiderman and not enough time watching NOVA.
It was probably hoped that everyone would see that there can be no links and the claims made by Seralini are ridiculous. But Seralini prevented that and had a press conference. Of course, public opinion is not how science is done. Unfortunately, morons who don’t understand that humans have been genetically modifying crops and food animals for centuries are trying to destroy the very group that is most likely to support them… if the evidence is there.
Here are some links to papers that show the other side.
Sub cronic feeding study in the same breed of rats: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0278691512004668
“These results demonstrated that the GM soybean 3Ø5423 × 40-3-2 is as safe as non-GM soybeans.”
“No detectable Cry1Ac-M protein was found in the serum of rats after feeding diets containing GM maize for 3 months. The results demonstrated that BT-38 maize is as safe as conventional non-GM maize.”
There was a similar study to the last one done in pigs. In that one, no trans genes were found in tissues or serum of the pigs. http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0036141
“There was no evidence of cry1Ab gene or Bt toxin translocation to organs or blood following long-term feeding.”
In other words, the common myth that transgenes appear in the tissue of food animals is just that… a myth.