Science self-corrects: bogus study claiming Roundup tolerant GMO corn causes cancer to be retracted

Whoo boy. This sounds like a familiar climate episode. Andrew Revkin tips me to this retraction of a paper that got screaming headlines worldwide, and says this along with the photo. (Warning don’t click “continue reading” while eating Thanksgiving dinner).


Yes, I wonder.

Retraction Watch writes:

A heavily criticized study of the effects of genetically modified maize and the Roundup herbicide on rats is being retracted — one way or another.

The paper — by Gilles Seralini and colleagues — was published in Food and Chemical Toxicology last year. There have been calls for retraction since then, along with other criticism and a lengthy exchange of letters in the journal. Meanwhile, the paper has been cited 28 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge, and the French National Assembly (their lower house of Parliament) held a long hearing on the paper last year, with Seralini and other scientists testifying.

Now, as reported in the French media, the editor of the journal, A. Wallace Hayes, has sent Seralini a letter saying that the paper will be retracted if Seralini does not agree to withdraw it.

The language in the letter seems quite familiar to WUWT and CA readers. This would never have been found out if not for the raw data. Note the language about it:

Very shortly after the publication of this article, the journal received Letters to the Editor expressing concerns about the validity of the findings it described, the proper use of animals, and even allegations of fraud. Many of these letters called upon the editors of the journal to retract the paper. According to the journal’s standard practice, these letters, as well as the letters in support of the findings, were published along with a response from the authors. Due to the nature of the concerns raised about this paper, the Editor-in-Chief examined all aspects of the peer review process and requested permission from the corresponding author to review the raw data. The request to view raw data is not often made; however, it is in accordance with the journal’s policy that authors of submitted manuscripts must be willing to provide the original data if so requested. The corresponding author agreed and supplied all material that was requested by the Editor-in-Chief. The Editor-in-Chief wishes to acknowledge the co-operation of the corresponding author in this matter, and commends him for his commitment to the scientific process.

Unequivocally, the Editor-in-Chief found no evidence of fraud or intentional misrepresentation of the data. However, there is legitimate cause for concern regarding both the number of animals in each study group and the particular strain selected. The low number of animals had been identified as a cause for concern during the initial review process, but the peer-review decision ultimately weighed that the work still had merit despite this limitation. A more in-depth look at the raw data revealed that no definitive conclusions can be reached with this small sample size regarding the role of either NK603 or glyphosate in regards to overall mortality or tumor incidence. Given the known high incidence of tumors in the Sprague-Dawley rat, normal variability cannot be excluded as the cause of the higher mortality and incidence observed in the treated groups.

More here

Need for the raw data, low sample size numbers, normal variability, cherry picking specific subjects?

Sounds like Yamalian dendroclimatology:

Core YAD061, shown in yellow highlight, the single most influential tree
Core YAD061, shown in yellow highlight, the single most influential tree

They even have a ranting demanding scientist to go along with it:

Seralini — whom, as we note, tried to get reporters to sign a non-disclosure agreement when the study was first being released, a move Ivan called an outrageous abuse of the embargo system designed to turn reporters into stenographers — rejected Hayes’ findings, according toLe Figaro. And GMWatch called Hayes’ decision “illicit, unscientific, and unethical.”

Hmmm, now who does that remind you of?

IMHO, science by zealotry never advances truth.


UPDATE: Elsevier issues a press release from Cambridge, MA, on Thanksgiving Day even…

Elsevier Announces Article Retraction from Journal Food and Chemical Toxicology

“Long term toxicity of a Roundup herbicide and a Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize,” by Gilles Eric Séralini et al. has been retracted by the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology

Cambridge, MA, November 28, 2013Elsevier announces that the article “Long term toxicity of a Roundup herbicide and a Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize,” by Gilles Eric Séralini et al. has been retracted by the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology.

The journal has issued the following retraction statement:

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November 28, 2013 9:23 am

[snip waaaaaaayyyy off topic – mod]

Eric H.
November 28, 2013 9:35 am

You don’t have to do much Google-ing on GMOs to find this paper cited early and often as “fact” by the usual subjects. It never ceases to boggle the mind…

November 28, 2013 9:39 am

Yes, 28 citations in the Litter-chure…and a few million repetitions on Fecebook as the disinformation spreads like…uh…cancer.

November 28, 2013 9:46 am

@ Mod. I know but I thought you’d appreciate the info. No problem.
[we do, but please use Tips and Notes for that -mod]

November 28, 2013 9:56 am

The evidence of collapse is clear. The onus on all of us is not to let this sort of fanatical weirdness gain traction again. They will try.

November 28, 2013 10:01 am

I can’t imagine who would down-rate an article like this? But I suppose Anthony has that info.
This is the kind of story that helps keep science honest — something we really need in this postmodern, spin dominated world.

Bloke down the pub
November 28, 2013 10:14 am

Too late. The mud will stick. Just think how much the warmists would whinge if they were on the receiving end of this sort of thing.

November 28, 2013 10:19 am

Bloke down the pub,
They would squeal like stuck pigs!

John F. Hultquist
November 28, 2013 10:26 am

On a similar topic the wiki page for “Alar” says
“Alar scare” is shorthand among news media and food industry professionals for an irrational, emotional public scare based on propaganda rather than facts. There remains disagreement about . . .
There is now a large segment of the population too young to remember the Alar story because it hit the MSM about 1985, about 28 years ago. “You can look it up.”
On a second track, I wonder how much good Roundup and Roundup-tolerant plants have contributed to food production, nutrition, and health since the introduction? And don’t tell me none. I’ve not been on Mars for the last 40 years, and first used it in 1978.

November 28, 2013 10:31 am

The basis for all farming and ranching is genetic modification and management, it always has been and always will be.

John F. Hultquist
November 28, 2013 10:40 am

A. W. says, Corn!
Happy Thanksgiving!
I grew 3 varieties this year, each “designed” to mature with different “days to harvest.” The earliest type only grew 3 feet tall. On each package is the word Hybrid. Amazing. I used a hoe on the Cheeseweed (Malva parviflora) because this is just a garden and not a lot of effort is needed.

Jeff C
November 28, 2013 10:56 am

The parallels to AGW science are fascinating, and greater transparency certainly allows informed individuals to draw their own conclusions. That being said, this hardly exonerates GMO in the food supply. Shoddy science on the anti-GMO activist side doesn’t let Big Food off the hook as transparency should apply to both sides equally. It doesn’t.
As a health-conscience individual and a parent, I prefer not to have our family participate in this real time experiment with GMO. Others may disagree, claiming we are wasting our money choosing to eat real food rather than today’s engineered and manufactured offerings. That may be the case, but it’s our choice and our right.
Monsanto and the others have vigorously fought mandatory GMO-labeling laws that inform consumers as to exactly what they are eating. Stating “there’s no conclusive evidence of harm” isn’t the same thing as demonstrably safe, regardless of what the agricultural interest’s marketing departments claim. Transparency needs to flow in both directions. Unlike the AGW-activists, our family isn’t looking to repeal the industrial revolution, we simply want to know what’s in our food when shopping. The food industry fights this tooth and nail, they abhor transparency.
The presence of obnoxious activists doesn’t automatically mean the other side is in the right.

Doug Huffman
November 28, 2013 11:00 am

cmcmail says: November 28, 2013 at 10:31 am “The basis for all farming and ranching is genetic modification and management, it always has been and always will be.” The basis for all cookery and cuisine is mixing ingredients, always has been and always will be. Now the neo-Luddites would quibble about how quickly the ingredients are mixed.
Unfortunately non-existence, as of risk, cannot be proven.
The Thanksgiving turkey was fed for 1000 days by the farmer, each feeding a datum in the turkeys confidence in Utopia. On the 1001 day the turkey met his BLACK SWAN – the axe. Happy Thanks Giving, we have many blessings for which to give thanks.

Steve from Rockwood
November 28, 2013 11:18 am

I smell a rat… happy Thanksgiving America!

Sasja Lundström
November 28, 2013 11:44 am

Vet ungefär hur jag formulerar en kommentar om GMO i generella termer på svenska, men får inte till det med engelskan. Ifrågasätter inte att berörd studie kan vara skräp, men många kommentatörer på WUWT beter sig precis som klimathotsförespråkare, när man ingår i en diskussion om GMO med dom. Att ifrågasätta GMO är uppenbart tabu.
Mina argument: Ett genom kan betraktas som ett oerhört stort kombinationslås. Lyckas man låsa upp en inaktiv sekvens vet man inte konsekvenserna fullt ut. Konsekvenserna behöver inte synas omgående, utan kan i sin tur trigga något annat (oönskat) och/eller dyka upp generationer senare. För ca 10-15 år sedan kände man till sjukdomar som triggades av upp till sju (7) specifika förändringar. Vad är känt idag …? Ju storre genom, ju fler kombinationer … Det påstods för något år sedan att människans genom var kartlagt, men det ser jag som en tidningsanka. Anledningen är enkel – om det är korrekt borde det ha hänt mycket inom medicinområdet sedan dess, men …
Förespråkare, främst den ekonomiska intresenten Monsanto, menar att vi sysslat med detta så länge vi har fött upp bl.a. hundar och katter. Håller med till en viss del, men där är frågan om avel/framavel, där man inte kringgår dom naturliga “regler”, som finns vid onaturlig korsbefruktning. (Endast raser inom samma arter tillåts fortplanta sig. Närliggande arter i vissa fall med steril avkomma – ex.  häst/åsna/zebra.) Man kan t.ex. inte para en hund med en katt, eftersom det är olika arter. Att då framtvinga en korsning mellan olika typer av arter kan då få oanade konsekvenser, ex. kombinationen växt och djur (jo, de har prövat … tomat m. torsk …)
Vad händer när en GM-art korsas med den naturliga/ursprungliga versione?. Det kan bli en multiresistent (under-) art, med oanade följder! Det är inte säkert att det märks på första generationen efter … Arters utveckling sker inte primärt via “selektivt urval” utan via mutationer (orsakade av strålning). Med tanke på hur lång tid arter har utvecklas, sedan liv uppstod på jorden, borde de önskade kvalitéerna redan funnits i godkända kombinationer, men det gör de inte. 
Vi, främst majsodlare i Mellan- och Sydamerika, vet följerna med att odla GMO. De odlarna har inget annat val än att fortsätta med detta, då marken är steril (förgiftad av Roundup) för annan gröda. Ekonomiskt sitter odlarna i Monsantos knä …
Allt detta är anledningar till att odling inom och import till EU är förbjuden. Berörd lobby har dock lyckats luckra upp dessa regler för någon enstaka produkt, men förbehållet att produkterna skall vara tydligt märkta. Med tanke på att över 90% av all majsproduktion för export är just GMO, så blir man fundersam när man i butikerna finner en uppsjö av olika fabrikat av majs, ALLA utan någon form av ursprungs-/GMO-märkning …
Skickat från min mobil … 

Pamela Gray
November 28, 2013 11:44 am

GMWatch does not think that honest error was made. But it was made. Those that know little about the limits of statistics used for significant difference make such mistakes. Small sample size and non-random subject selection are key sources of error in research design that can and often do lead to spurious “significance”. This type of error is usually made by folks who do not understand the necessary components of robust research.
The most that can be said of this piece of research (more a clinical case study than multi-subject double blind random selection treatment research) is that clinical observation appears to warrant further research.

November 28, 2013 11:50 am

The old saying, that a lie can be half-way round the world before you have got your pants on is a good one.The problem with lies is if you tell them often enough,people stop listening.

November 28, 2013 12:03 pm

There have been a lot of studies regarding the safety of GMOs:
A recent paper by independent Italian scientists noted there have been 1783 studies on safety and health issues related to GMOs over the last ten years alone, including many publicly funded studies, confirming the safety of GMOs. The literal avalanche of GMO safety studies, short term and long, have prompted more than 100 of the world’s independent science bodies to conclude that foods made from genetically modified crops are as safe or safer than conventional or organic varieties.
So who is behind this bizarre declaration? ENSSER, for those not familiar with it, is an organization with a mission. Its members believe—this is faith and not science—that the debate over GMOs is over, that the technology is harmful and should be banned or restricted out of existence. Its members are among the most high profile anti-GMO activists in Europe. Remember the pictures of rats supposedly twisted into cancerous monsters after eating GMO corn that were blasted across cyberspace and onto ‘laugh-out-loud’ pop shows like Dr. Oz? The rats were props for humans, according to the notorious 2012 Gilles-Erich Séralini study that stands as one of the most discredited experiments in scientific history. Séralini is a signee of this statement, along with co-author Nicolas Defarge, who is ENSSER’s Deputy Chairman.”

Adam Gallon
November 28, 2013 12:10 pm

The withdrawl of this paper will be portrayed by the Greenies, as the effects of “Big Agri” putting pressure on the journal, to subvert the truth.

Paul Westhaver
November 28, 2013 12:16 pm

Science Please!
Information please!
If we have to label toys to be used by kids over 6 yrs old, etc, then it is a reasonable request to have GMOs labeled as such.
GMOs ought to be labeled and the individual attribute(s) augmented in the GMO ought to be identified. ie vitamin boost, pest resistance, etc.
After all, we do eat them for nutritional reasons, therefore we should know.

Paul Westhaver
November 28, 2013 12:24 pm

I have a beef with GMOs at another level. The USPTO issues patents on gene sequences. ie Round-Up ready corn. If that corn inadvertently (wind or bird dispersion) ends up in a field not under contract with the patent holder (monsanto for example) then the field owner is unknowingly in violation of Monsanto’s licenses deal and subject to legal action. Not fair. Since part of the natural life cycle of seeds is to be dispersed by wind and water and animals.
I have real questions if “life” ought to be subject to patent protection.

Pamela Gray
November 28, 2013 12:26 pm

I know about the limits of sample size and non-random subject selection. My research had only 6 subjects and their selection was non-random. Why? It was basic research. I needed to be able to see whether or not frequency specificity of the auditory brainstem response to high-frequency specific auditory signals was maintained at each synaptic junction. So I selected subjects whose auditory brainstem response to white noise was easily detected from background brain wave activity in at least the 1st synaptic junction, the third synaptic junction and the 5th synaptic junction. The utility of such testing in random subjects from the general population was yet to be examined. Some people’s brainwaves are not random even when at rest. Mine are like that. It proved impossible to get a basic white noise ABR from my head, let alone a high frequency specific one.
This is to say that one must consider the limits of your research and what it was designed to examine. The researchers of the above paper seemed to miss-match their design with their purpose. A not uncommon mistake.
A better design would have been to use rats with no known propensity to tumors with this first research. The sample could have been small. Then they should have opened it up to many rat strains which would have required a large overall sample size as well as larger strain specific sample size.
What should be obvious to many here is that someone without a Ph.D. (me) knows this. Why didn’t they? Poor quality Ph.D. program? That would be my guess.

November 28, 2013 12:28 pm

The problem is you ignore costs. Tracking every ingredient in every food, perhaps passing through an animal is very expensive. Far better for folks who are concerned about this issue to find vendors who will cater to their needs by undertaking whatever expense is entailed to provide the info you seek. The rest of us can just continue in ignorance if we wish.

November 28, 2013 12:30 pm

Where is Gail Combs when you need her ?

Pamela Gray
November 28, 2013 12:31 pm

And by the way, in the second proposed study each strain should have been matched with a control group of that strain fed with regular stuff. Lotsa rats. Lotsa rats.

November 28, 2013 12:42 pm

@gregjxn: tracking was not requested, but labeling.
*ANY* food stuff should be adequately labeled, GMO or not.
Place grown/raised/processed/batch.
To say you can not identify what/where food on a shop shelf came from is a little scary.
Add GMO or radiation sterilization or novel food ingredients or novel food processes and we loose track of what we eat.

Doug Huffman
November 28, 2013 12:49 pm

Sasja Lundstr�m says:
November 28, 2013 at 11:44 am
Know roughly how I formulate a comment about GMOs in general terms in Swedish, but dont get to it with English . Do not question that the relevant study may be rubbish , but many commentators on WUWT behave just like klimathotsförespråkare , when included in a discussion about GMOs with them. Questioning GM is clearly taboo.
My argument: A genome can be considered as a tremendous combination lock. If you manage to unlock an inactive sequence you do not know the consequences fully . The consequences do not appear immediately, but may in turn trigger some other ( unwanted) and / or the emerging generations later . For about 10-15 years ago it was known diseases triggered by up to seven (7) specific changes . What is known today … ? The larger the genome, the more combinations … It was said a year ago that the human genome was mapped , but it looks to me like a canard . The reason is simple – if it is correct , it should have happened a lot in the medical field since then, but …
Proponents , mainly economic intresenten Monsanto , says that we been doing this as long as we have bred inter alia dogs and cats. Agree to a certain extent , but there is the question of breeding / forward breeding , which do not circumvent them natural ” rules” , which is available at unnatural cross-fertilization . (Only breeds within the same species are allowed to procreate. Related species in some cases with sterile offspring – ex . Horse / donkey / zebra. ) One can for example not breed a dog with a cat, because there are different species. To then force a cross between different species may then have unexpected consequences , ex . combination of plants and animals (yes, they have tried … tomato m cod … )
What happens when a GM species crossed with the natural / original versione ‘. It can become a multi-drug resistant (sub) species, with unknown consequences ! There is no certainty that it shows in the first generation after … Species development is not primarily through ” selective ” but through mutations (caused by radiation). Considering how long the species has developed, since life arose on Earth , should the desired qualities already existed in approved combinations , but they do not .
We mainly corn growers in Central and South America , knows portfolios with cultivating GMOs. The farmers have no choice but to continue with this, then the soil is sterile ( poisoned by Roundup ) for another crop . Economically sitting growers in Monsanto’s knee …
All these are reasons for cultivation and imports into the EU is prohibited. Concerned lobby has managed to loosen up these rules for any single product, but the proviso that the products should be clearly labeled . Given that over 90% of all corn production for export is precisely GMOs , so one becomes pensive when the stores will find a plethora of different brands of corn, ALL without any form of ursprungs-/GMO-märkning …
Sent from my mobile …

Retired Engineer
November 28, 2013 12:52 pm

Rats? Who needs them when you know the results before you start? Much cheaper and more grant money left over for mighty fine restaurants. Draw the curve before you plot the data. Looks much better.
/sarc (did I really need that?)

Paul Westhaver
November 28, 2013 12:52 pm

It is possible to modify proteins in meat so that their structure prevent them being usable in human protein synthesis. Yes, you could eat 10 lbs of this protein and receive no befit nutritionally. Stoiciometrically identical, but no food value.

Doug Huffman
November 28, 2013 12:56 pm

The genome may be considered a tremendous combination lock, or it may not be considered a combination lock. Similarly, technology may be considered a Pandora’s Box, or it may not.
Argument by analogy is fraught with difficulties; first the validity of the analogous argument must be established, and then the validity of the parallelism must be established; in infinite regress.
Genomet kan anses vara en enorm kombinationslås, eller det kan inte betraktas som ett kombinationslås. På samma sätt kan tekniken betraktas som en Pandoras ask, eller det kanske inte.
Argument analogt är förenat med svårigheter, först giltigheten av den analoga argument måste etableras, och sedan måste fastställas giltigheten av parallellism, i oändlig regress. (Translation by G00gle)

November 28, 2013 1:26 pm

Even GM-wary Europe blasted the study through EFSA (European Food Safety Authority): “Considering that the study as reported in the Séralini et al. (2012) publication is of inadequate design, analysis and reporting, EFSA finds that it is of insufficient scientific quality for safety assessment” See

Jeff L
November 28, 2013 1:31 pm

What do AGW & GMO’s have in common ? Scientific topics that have become polluted by politics. One needs to be extra skeptical on any scientific topic that has become a political issue, as this retraction shows

Pamela Gray
November 28, 2013 1:32 pm

Roundup is at most a 6 month herbicide. It is also relatively mild in terms of kill strength. It does not poison the ground or make it sterile. It’s action begins when absorbed through the leaves. It does not work otherwise so forget spraying it on the weedless ground or on uncut roots in hopes of preventing plants from growing. You must have a leaf to spray it on. After spraying and when the plant is killed (specifically, dried up), you can actually pull it up and eat it in a salad if it was for example, a dandelion, without harm to you and plant something immediately in place of the weed you just ate without worry. The only warning is to keep farm animals, pets, and humans away from close contact with the sprayed vegetation until the weeds have dried up. Then it is completely safe.
The main reason for Round-up ready crops is so you can spray Round-up in a field to kill any plant except the crop. To do that they replaced a round-up sensitive enzyme with a round-up resistant enzyme that performs the same function to get the crop to grow. No big deal. But a very profitable plant to sell to farmers. Monsanto would really like to keep their seed and enzyme replacing process all to themselves. Who wouldn’t.
So what about cross pollination? Not likely. Dandelions in a field will not become resistant to Round-up by cross pollinating with GM corn. The biggest issue is the Monsanto desire to profit from their invention. A GM field of corn could cross pollinate with a field down the road that has just regular corn in it. It is conceivable that a farmer could end up with a free batch of GM corn seed. If he did, there is money to be saved if he can get away with it.
So for all you folks who are thinking this is a good case for labeling, it is not.

November 28, 2013 1:36 pm

Another example of how the peer review system completely fails to weed out bad scientific method. Its time to change the peer review method which is now tantamount to scientific fraud in many case’s.
We need a new system to rate scientific method and level of data confidence in science studies!

November 28, 2013 1:37 pm

Doug Huffman on November 28, 2013 at 12:49 pm
It wasn’t my intension to publish what I wrote as a comment, but rather an email forward to a friend that knows about stuff like this. My bad. The translation is somewhat ok, but Google Translate have a severe problem with including English (ie American) grammer and different prepositions then used in other languages. “klimathotsförespråkare” is the same as a person promoting (c)AWG …
And yes, the genone is a perfect Pandora’s box, as the functionality of most inactive sequences are unknown and will not be known before activated. The scientists need to know how unlock first …! (Trial and error) Simple as that!

November 28, 2013 1:41 pm

Pamela Gray on November 28, 2013 at 1:32 pm
That’s Monsanto’s arguments …
Follow the money …

Pamela Gray
November 28, 2013 1:42 pm

Steve, your desire for such labeling leads me to believe you have not lived and interacted with farming on small or large scales. Your only course of action? None. Even very old seed was placed in a seed packet from a batch of seed collected from many locations. Your labeling desire is so unreasonable it made me roll my eyes.

Pamela Gray
November 28, 2013 1:46 pm

Sasja, exactly. With all inventions you follow the money. How else are inventions brought to market??? Even the lowly mousetrap has such a history. You apparently believe in conspiracy motives instead of good old fashioned capitalism.
On this day of days, thank God for capitalism, something the folks of Plymouth Rock and the Indians who helped them based their survival on.

November 28, 2013 1:49 pm

People have been killed by GMO, contrary the mantra of safety that proponents like to regurgitate.
L-Tryptohan, Showa Denko
As a consequence, people in the west lost their freedom to purchase an essential amino acid.
It’s a disgusting fact that proponents of GM prefer to keep hidden.
I don’t want Monsanto in my food chain. Thanks.

Pamela Gray
November 28, 2013 1:50 pm

Sasja, just so you know, I have had plenty of experience with Round-up. I buy the generic brand to save money. Same chemical product, acts the same way, but way cheaper.

Pamela Gray
November 28, 2013 1:53 pm

Khwarizmi, everything you eat has already been genetically modified by nature itself. What you are saying is silly uneducated drivel. I suppose you are afraid of flies. Fruit flies are constantly being genetically modified at an astounding rate. And all without the help of a single scientist.

November 28, 2013 1:59 pm

Ever saw ? You wont find it anymore.. It was horrible.. 🙁 and unwanted..

Pamela Gray
November 28, 2013 2:07 pm

Khwarizmi, given your fears, don’t eat roast Turkey for Thanksgiving. And your connection between LT and myalgia syndrome is very weak. The two main studies on this correlation have long been debunked.

björn from sweden
November 28, 2013 2:14 pm

Well, I for one will continue to avoid eating herbicides. It does not make sense to me to genetically modify plants so the can tolerate heavier spraying with insect and weed poison.
Sure our livers are big and effective cleaning the blood, but id rather eat food that is not drenched in poison. Long term effects are totally unknown and difficult to study.

November 28, 2013 2:15 pm

When newly developed, high yield seeds for corn and wheat were first introduced to farmers in the US, it took some time for the farmers to accept the new varieties. The reason they were leary of the newer varieties is because they had to buy the seed each year. They thought this was an enormous burden, and of course not according to tradition! Many stuck to older cultivars. Norman Borlaug’s uncle approached it this way: he planted a trial field to see if the yield would make it worth buying new seed each year. He then made the calculations based on observations and decided that the increase in yield would absolutely be worth purchasing the new seed each year.
This is not a new argument. It has long been customary for a company that develops a cultivar to be able to sell it.
This is not the case with Golden Rice, though. Golden Rice is GM to divert the micronutrients from its green stem to the rice itself. This could save many lives. And whatsmore, Golden Rice can be planted using seed from the last years crop. So there again the evil profit motive which is so visceral in anti-GM activists does not apply to Golden Rice.

November 28, 2013 2:17 pm

Pamela Gray on November 28, 2013 at 1:46 pm
Apparently, some stuff are filtered by U.S. media …
As I tried to write earlier, a number of Central and South American farmers are stuck with the Monsanto crap corn, so they disagree with Monsanto’s arguments! That’s not conspiracy, that’s a fact! They were tricked and have no option, as they can’t afford to wait for fields to recover …
Btw, RoundUp recently had issues regarding toxicity here … well noticed by media!

Pamela Gray
November 28, 2013 2:23 pm

Thank you Zeke. A voice of discernment and reason.

November 28, 2013 2:30 pm

” The corresponding author agreed and supplied all material that was requested by the Editor-in-Chief. The Editor-in-Chief wishes to acknowledge the co-operation of the corresponding author in this matter, and commends him for his commitment to the scientific process.
Unequivocally, the Editor-in-Chief found no evidence of fraud or intentional misrepresentation of the data. ”
Okay that right there sets Gilles Seralini and colleagues way above any climate scientists. I really don’t see how they can be compared to Mr Mann etc.

November 28, 2013 2:33 pm

Well it does not make sense to me for organic farmers to be able to spray manure on plants within 6 months of harvest: “Disease-causing microbes, such as salmonella or toxic forms of E. coli, are commonly found in animal waste.
…a microbiologist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s research center in Beltsville, Md., says scientists are now trying to figure out exactly how long such bacteria survive in the soil. “In some cases, salmonella will survive for a few weeks; in other cases, it’ll be reported that it survives for 300-plus days,” she says.”
So I do not buy organic food ever. It costs twice as much and I do not have any issues at all with Nitrogen fertilizers. They are clean and plants can support the high yield growth that the dwarf varieties offer. To each his own. But other people’s dietary laws are just that, their own preferences – which incidentally are common to most (but not all) religions also.

November 28, 2013 2:35 pm

Any time Pamela Gray (: And you would be proud of your neighbors to the north here in Washington. We just voted down GMO labeling requirements as onerous and unnecessary. Happy Thanksgiving. I am thankful for all of you at WUWT as I have learned so much over the years. It’s been the best.

November 28, 2013 2:35 pm

While on the subject Seralini does reply to the criticisms of his work if you are interested in his side of the story:
The short version can be read here if you don’t have the time or inclination to wade through the PDF:

November 28, 2013 2:45 pm

Another point is that it may not be the GM food itself but all the glyphosate (Roundup) that is doing the damage. It destroys plants by interfering with what is called the “shikimate pathway”. That doesn’t exist in humans so the theory was that glyphosate was safe but that pathway does exist in the bacteria in your gut where 75% of your immune system is regulated. Autoimmune diseases and inflammation ensue when that is damaged.
More interesting reading on the pathways that glyphosate interferes with human health:
Anthony Samsel and Stephanie Seneff, “Glyphosate’s Suppression of Cytochrome P450 Enzymes and Amino Acid Biosynthesis by the Gut Microbiome: Pathways to Modern Diseases” Entropy 2013, 15(4), 1416-1463; doi:10.3390/e15041416

November 28, 2013 2:49 pm

Another fake-study, by UNEP:

November 28, 2013 2:51 pm

Given the known high incidence of tumors in the Sprague-Dawley rat, normal variability cannot be excluded as the cause of the higher mortality and incidence observed in the treated groups.

Did they know about the “high incidence of tumors in the Sprague-Dawley rat” before they began the study? If yes then maybe that’s why they chose this rat. Let’s look at this dirty rat.

Spontaneous Tumors in Sprague-Dawley Rats and Swiss Mice1
A spontaneous tumor incidence of 45% was noted in 360 Sprague-Dawley rats (179 males and 181 females) and a 26% incidence was seen in 254 Swiss mice (101 males and 153 females) used as untreated control animals in an 18-month series of carcinogenesis experiments. …….

November 28, 2013 2:51 pm

This was an odd study, three different levels of GMO corn +/- roundup and a roundup control.
Pick a high GMO, match with control corn +/- roundup. Use all females or all males. You have an n=50, punch ears circle, square, triangle and wave. Make damned sure that you are not only virtuous but are seen to be virtuous.
Fix all organs on death.

November 28, 2013 2:52 pm

They picked rats and cherries.

November 28, 2013 2:58 pm

Can I have funding please to check the incidence of facial tumours on Tasmanian Devils? Pleeeeease. Pretty please. I promise to blame it on genetically modified animals or global warming. Send me money, now! 😉

Transmission of a fatal clonal tumor by biting occurs due to depleted MHC diversity in a threatened carnivorous marsupial
A fatal transmissible tumor spread between individuals by biting has emerged in the Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii), a carnivorous marsupial. Here we provide genetic evidence establishing that the tumor is clonal and therefore foreign to host devils. Thus, the disease is highly unusual because it is not just a tumor but also a tissue graft, passed between individuals without invoking an immune response. The MHC plays a key role in immune responses to both tumors and grafts. The most common mechanism of immune evasion by tumors is down-regulation of classical cell surface MHC molecules. Here we show that this mode of immune escape does not occur. However, because the tumor is a graft, it should still be recognized and rejected by the host’s immune system due to foreign cell surface antigens. Mixed lymphocyte responses showed a lack of alloreactivity between lymphocytes of different individuals in the affected population, indicating a paucity of MHC diversity. This result was verified by genotyping, providing a conclusive link between a loss of MHC diversity and spread of a disease through a wild population. This novel disease arose as a direct result of loss of genetic diversity and the aggressive behavior of the host species. The neoplastic clone continues to spread although the population, and, without active disease control by removal of affected animals and the isolation of disease-free animals, the Tasmanian devil faces extinction.

November 28, 2013 3:02 pm

How did this get past peer review? Didn’t the experts know about the high incidence of tumors in these rats? They either did and let it slide or they were not experts.

November 28, 2013 3:16 pm

Elsevier Announces Article Retraction from Journal Food and Chemical Toxicology
…Very shortly after the publication of this article, the journal received Letters to the Editor expressing concerns about the validity of the findings it described, the proper use of animals, and even allegations of fraud. Many of these letters called upon the editors of the journal to retract the paper….

Yet many, many Calamastrologists get away with fraud and misleading the public. If you want evidence just go to Google Scholar and type in ‘climate change’ then spend the next 80 years of your life reading through largely horseshit.

November 28, 2013 3:25 pm

SasjaL says:
November 28, 2013 at 1:37 pm
“And yes, the genone is a perfect Pandora’s box, as the functionality of most inactive sequences are unknown and will not be known before activated. The scientists need to know how unlock first …! (Trial and error) Simple as that!”
Well, if you fear unforeseen consequences by “activation” of “inactive sequences” ( I put that in scare quotes because traditionally it was defined that a gene is something that encodes a protein; everything else is inactive sequences; we already know now that the situation is not as clear cut as that ); then you should quiver in your boots all the time as nature has the nasty habit of doing the weirdest things with genomes all the time; e.g. virii intruding and inserting some gene they got from who-knows-where into your body cells.
There is one criticism of GMO’s that I find reasonable – the method of traditional gene insertion is ugly and imprecise; and a post-selection using, I think, antibiotica is used to select for the cells in which the gene insertion worked as intended; that requires that an antibiotica resistance gene is part of the inserted sequence.
A newer, better method is to create a prototype using this clumsy gene insertion; and if it performs as intended, you sequence it and then try to rebuild it with traditional seed library crossbreeding until an organism with a sufficiently similar gene sequence – but without the antibiotica resistance gene – has been created.

November 28, 2013 3:28 pm

…and my favorite example for the weirdness of genetics in nature is this charming creature; a sea slug that is shaped like a leaf and has stolen algae genes to learn how to make chlorophyll.

November 28, 2013 3:56 pm

Don’t eat it, DirkH! 🙂

November 28, 2013 4:11 pm

Paul Westhaver at 12:24 pm
I have real questions if “life” ought to be subject to patent protection.
On the one hand, people insist that producers of GMO products conduct to conduct long term test on the safety of GM foods and that there are no carcinogenic effects detectable in the next generaltion.
On the other hand, people, sometimes the same peopl as above, also question whether GM derived life is subject to patent protection.
It is patent protection that allows a GM research lab to generate the revenue needed to justify the many years of testing demanded by some in the public.
So… either accept patent protection to pay for the research required for a business in GM plants and animals,….
or, give up the demand to test to exhaustion the products of GM research if you hold they cannot be patented.
Nature itself does GM research rather haphazardly as a means to evolution and bacteriologic life cycles. There is no one to hold the patent, but there is no one to sue for alleged harm, either.

November 28, 2013 4:46 pm

After the publication of the study by Gilles-Eric Seralini, the first study carried out on rats fed NK603 maize over their whole lifespan, which shows that the toxicity of these GMOs on rats, many criticisms and questions have arisen about the conditions in which the study was carried out and its credibility. Dr Joel Spiroux, co-author and assistant director of the study, and president of Criigen (Committee for Research and Independent Information on Genetic Engineering) responds.
First criticism: 200 rats is too small a sample for a solid study …
– The sample of 200 rats, 20 rats per group, is the same number of rats used [GMW note: analysed] by Monsanto in its 3-month study. In contrast, we studied many more toxicological endpoints. An experiment with more rats would have cost more money. The study already cost 3.2 million Euro.
The type of rats used, Sprague-Dawley, is known to easily develop tumours …
– Yes, but this type of rat is used the world over for toxicological research. These rats have the advantage of being stable in biological and physical levels. They all pretty much the same profile, the same weight … These are the rats used from the beginning in the research on GMOs by the firms that produce them, including by Monsanto. And the facts are there: those that were fed GM corn, with or without Roundup, develop more diseases. And much faster.
Looking closely, male rats fed GM corn does not generally develop more tumours than the controls …
– One must look at the speed which which tumours are triggered. In all three treatment groups of rats, tumours or diseases of the kidneys and liver begin in the 4th month and explode in the 11th and 12th months. Which corresponds to the age of 35 to 40 years in a human. In the control group, tumours occurred mostly at the end of life, in the 23rd and 24th months, which seems to be normal in these rats.
Scientists point to the lack of information on the exact composition of the diet on which rats were fed …
– These are standard biscuits/chow, the same again as those used by the producers of GMOs in their studies. The only difference is that we have precisely measured the concentration of GM maize: 11% for the first group, 22% for the second and 33% for the third.
The amount of GMO consumed by the rats is more than is consumed by humans…
– Think again. The doses of NK603 maize are comparable to what humans eat over a lifetime in America, where GMOs are sold freely, unlabelled, untraceable. This prevents them being identified as a cause of disease and opens the door to denial. This is why we hear for example that Americans have been eating GMOs for 15 years and are not sick.
The magazine chosen to publish the study, “Food and Chemical Toxicology,” is not the most prestigious in the United States.
– It is far from being secondary: it is an internationally known scientific journal. Publications are subject to peer review, and the peer reviewers express contradictory opinions. And it’s the same journal in which Monsanto and other manufacturers publish their counter-studies.
We also hear that Gilles-Eric Seralini is committedly anti-GM, that he got the results he wanted.
– Absolutely not. Gilles-Eric Seralini the Criigen (Committee for Research and Independent Information on Genetic Engineering) and researchers in his lab at the University of Caen are also working on genetically modified organisms, because it gives them access to the knowledge of life. They have nothing against GMOs for the manufacture of drugs. Insulin, for example, is produced from GMOs. This does not prevent me from prescribing it to my patients with diabetes. One can recognize these medicines by the presence on the label of the term “recombinant protein”. So yes to GMOs in the pharmaceutical laboratory. However, Gilles-Eric Seralini and we are against agricultural GMOs, because they are inadequately labelled and their long-term toxicity is poorly studied.
You are not oncologists, what do you know about tumours?
– No, we are not oncologists and have never said otherwise. This is a toxicity study, not a carcinogenicity study, which follows other protocols. Moreover, we have nowhere stated that tumours were cancerous. These are fibro-adenomas and kerato-acanthomas [?chirato-acantomes], which can turn into cancer in older rats.
A counter-study is needed.
– We agree. We also want a counter-study, but it must be carried out by independent researchers. Not by those who produce studies for manufacturers of GMOs. That is not the position of the EFSA at the moment (European Food Safety Agency).

November 28, 2013 4:50 pm

The susceptibility of rats to tumors is very high in the first place, according to this pet care website:
“Mammary cancer is a common cause of tumors in rats and mice and can occur in both males and females. The prevalence of tumors varies with the strain of animal. In some mouse strains, 70% develop mammary tumors. In mice, mammary tumors are also associated with the mouse mammary tumor virus (MMTV), which predisposes a mouse to develop mammary cancer. One strain of this virus is termed the “Bittner agent.””
Let’s also keep in mind that there is an enormous variety of lab animals used for testing. These have varying degrees of susceptibility to cancers and infections, and are specially modified in order to study these diseases. For example:
So I think an interesting question is whether it is advisable to listen to every activist or government or NGO that gives tumors to rats or mice, and then uses the science to take more control over what really are individual food choices.

November 28, 2013 4:56 pm

Some journals demand raw data to even review it in the first place.

November 28, 2013 5:12 pm

Zeke says:
November 28, 2013 at 3:56 pm
“Don’t eat it, DirkH! :)”
I didn’t say “favorite dish”. I prefer vertebrates; I’m not French.

November 28, 2013 5:31 pm

From the Editor’s Note of retraction::
Unequivocally, the Editor-in-Chief found no evidence of fraud or intentional misrepresentation of the data.
There might be intentional misrepresentation, but the Editor found no evidence of it.
However, there is a legitimate cause for concern regarding both the number of animals in each study group and the particular strain selected.
Let’s remember that Journals should also publish experiments that FAIL to reject hypothesizes. It is part of the experimental record to be communicated to others.
The low number of animals had been identified as a cause for concern during the initial review process, but the peer review decision ultimately weighed that the work still had merit despite this limitation.
What kind of merit? Merit for further study? Interesting, but not statistically significant results? I’m OK with that.
But somehow a merit for further study gets twisted into calls to ban products.
Did the Journal publish with the necessary caveats on statistics and procedure problems?
Was the Jurnal “used” to establish a scientifically insignificant, but politically significant finding?
A more in-depth look at the raw data revealed that no definitive conclusions can be reached with this small sample size regarding the role of either NK603 or glyphosate in regards to overall mortality or tumor incidence. Given the known high incidence of tumors in the Sprague-Dawley rat, normal variability cannot be excluded as the cause of the higher mortality and incidence observed in the treated groups
What kind of peer review did this paper encounter?
Problems with sample size?
Problems with carcinogenic rates with the control groups?
You don’t need a Ph.D. is statistics or biology to spot these RED flags.
Yet despite the red flags, the Journal publishes anyway, then has second thoughts looking at no more data that what should have been in the original article, decides to retract.
Journals are in business to make money. I get that. I appreciate it. I for one do not expect Journals to validate experiments. I don’t even require statistical significance for papers published in journals. FAILURE to meet statistical significance is an important finding. But I expect Journals to insist authors be upfront with the strength of their conclusions.
So the questitons remain. What changed between approval and now for the Journal to go from publication to retraction? Did the authors intentionally misrepresent insignificant results as significant? Did the peer review not dial back exaggeration?

November 28, 2013 5:50 pm

Pamela Gray: “So for all you folks who are thinking this is a good case for labeling, it is not.”
I appreciate your insights on this. But making a case for product labeling for the purposes of informed consent don’t need a scientific basis. It only needs enough people with enough concerns, however derived, to justify it.
And going further than this, to turn your nose up at what biologists state is… probably good advice. We’re all aware of how badly consensus science performs in other domains already. And biology, specifically the nutritional end of things, is downright infamous for stating that the harmful is safe, and the safe is harmful. Which is an issue that goes far beyond torts and government permission offices such as the FDA.

November 28, 2013 5:59 pm

Paul Westhaver; ” Not fair. Since part of the natural life cycle of seeds is to be dispersed by wind and water and animals.”
Yeh, this is fundamentally broken. The entire purpose of the patent system is that someone has to actively do something to violate it. When mother nature is doing just what she’s always done, then Monsanto and similar ought be suing Gaia or God; assuming they can get the accused party in the courtroom.
Fundamentally, it’s good business sense for pro and anti GM outfits. Pro GM outfits get a nice protection racket going if a neighboring field is using GM crop. If so, to avoid suit, the neighbors have to plant the same and from the same company. Anti GM outfits can use it is a cudgel against GM for the same reasons. The suits are the same in either case, the importance of which is which depends on what arguments make it into the ruling opinion.

Paul Westhaver
November 28, 2013 6:09 pm

To: Stephen Rasey,
Safety and Efficacy of the product falls under the FDA.
Novelty of a gene sequence fall under the USPTO.
Testing for safety is an obligation as dictated by the FDA.
Any company who produces a GMO has 2 sets of lawyers. 1) Lawyers to argue that the food is safe and effective to satisfy the FDA. These lawyer will argue that there is nothing different in the GMO compared to natural food. 2) a second set of lawyers who will argue until the cows come home, that the gene sequence is novel and not in the public domain.
These lawyers are usually different people but they are arguing 2 contrary points of view at the same time for the same company.
Testing for pleiotrpy would be an FDA type consideration.
Regardless of whether there is a patent or not, the company MUST do the testing to prove safety and efficacy in order to label the GMO as food in the USA.
Patent protection and the testing related to the patent prosecution is by comparison a very small financial burden.
So I would argue that there is no this-or-that here. No obligation to test in order to have a benefit from the patent.
My point is that “Life” processes are not confined to the gene sequences. The GMO DNA ie seeds are spread naturally so they can’t be protected the same way a copyrighted book or a product can be protected. I suggest that a new body of law would need to be created to deal with subsequent natural mutation, crossbreeding, and dispersion and the possibility that a life process may exist and may not be discovered, rendering the novelty as mute.

Paul Westhaver
November 28, 2013 6:13 pm

JQuip… yes I agree. And I would add: who has the money to pay for the prosecution.

November 28, 2013 6:19 pm

“Which is an issue that goes far beyond torts and government permission offices such as the FDA.”
It has been defeated at the ballot box, and the regulations for labeling food is getting lengthy and costly to comply. Whether a person requires organic foods, has an allergy, has religious dietary standards, is a strict vegan, or the government thinks you should know the calories in a hamburger, these issues are best dealt with through personal research. Voters and small business owners have roundly said no to these and other government requirements, such as labeling calories on menus and prohibiting certain sized drinks from being served. These cost more for consumers, they cost more for smaller businesses, it gives more for the government to enforce, and the science behind it is fraught with the handiwork of activists and extremists. However, for those who are indeed fanatic about this issue, they should by all means go to the local Rich Hippy store and get the food that they most fancy.
By all means, do not eat food when you are clouded with Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt. I think we can all agree that is plainly bad for the digestion! (:

November 28, 2013 6:44 pm

From the perspective of the growers, grocers, and shoppers, the obverse side of the coin:
First, genetically altered crops have been in production in the U.S. for nearly 20 years, have been deemed safe through extensive testing by the federal government, and have shown zero adverse effects on the health of the general public.
In addition, it has been acknowledged by both WFM and the Non-GMO Project that no test exists that can tell the difference between sugar, corn, soy or any of the others that came from GMO seed being any different than commodities that came from conventional seed. In addition, if a cow, a pig or a sheep eats crops that come from GMO seed, there is no test in existence that can tell any difference in the meat or milk from that of any other animal.
So how does WFM, the Non-GMO Project or any of the other advocates of this policy intend to verify their label? The short answer is they can’t. But what they are telling consumers is that products earn a non-GMO label by going through a “process-based” verification process. Ultimately what that means is that livestock feed must first be certified organic and second, it must be traceable and tested. Without a major paradigm shift in U.S. livestock production, neither of those processes is possible at a meaningful level.
If WFM wants to develop and fund a verification process to provide its shoppers with a meaningless label, we don’t see a problem. But creating a new government bureaucracy that essentially does the same thing is absurd.
Please read the whole article.
Frank Priestley is president of the Idaho Farm Bureau.
– See more at:

November 28, 2013 7:09 pm

Also: “The USDA runs the National Organic Program, a certification which allows producers to label products as ‘USDA Organic’ if they follow certain production standards. Foods with these labels by definition cannot contain any genetically modified material. Existing regulations already provide consumers with information and ample ability to choose not to purchase foods that have been genetically modified, if that is what they prefer.”
Not only that, the labeling and tracking applies to all crops, including wheat and other foods for which don’t even have GM crops even in use:
“I-522 is a costly and misleading measure that would hurt Washington’s family farmers and consumers,” said WAWG Past President Eric Maier of Ritzville. “While there is currently no commercially available GE wheat, I-522 would still impose new bureaucratic requirements on our members who grow and process wheat products for sale in Washington and around the world.”
Family farmers, food producers, grocers and retailers would have to implement distinct systems to grow, handle, process, transport and sell food and beverage products in Washington. Farmers would also have to create extensive new recordkeeping systems to track all food products — foods that contain GE ingredients (so they can be properly labeled) as well as foods without GE ingredients.
These new requirements would add millions of dollars in costs for Washington farmers and food companies, and make Washington products more costly than in other states.”

November 28, 2013 7:53 pm

Certainly there is indication that the matter should be further researched.
But this was a pretty questionable study and IMHO should not have reached publication:
200 rats, 20 groups of 10, two sexes: 9 treatments and a control. (3 levels of GM maize, with and without glyphosphate, 3 levels of glyphospate)
Only 1 group of 10 animals per treatment per sex?
Only one group of 10 per sex as a control?
“Toxicity” was seen in glyphosphate groups, and GMO groups with and without added glyphospate? Are there different mechanisms at work?
It is hard for me to imagine how a 200 rat trial costs 3.2 million Euro.
Disclaimer: I am a fan of GMO – I think this is the technology that will save future generations from starving to death.

November 28, 2013 8:01 pm

@Paul Westhaver at 6:09 pm
I am not going to argue what is the Law.
I am goint to argue what is Right.
“Save and Effective.” If there is a more absurd legal standard, I don’t know what it is.
Is a peanut safe and effective? For some it is cheap and delicious. For others it is deadly.
But it comes from “nature” so it must be good and gets approval. Yet arguably, to people with peanut allergies ‘second hand peanut’ is a far worse danger than second hand smoke.
If I graft an avacado branch onto an olive tree, I may make a new food. Do I have to show it is safe and effective to sell it? Do I have to go through the same documentation a GM firm would? What If I managed it through cross pollination — that’s at least tinkering with the plant’s genes.
I am not necessarily saying that GM’d foods don’t need some testing. What I argue is that if you create a new food — and the GOVERNMENT REQUIRES you to test it extensively before you can sell it, then that REQUIREMENT creates a parallel RIGHT of PATENT. The food has no value at all until it is tested and passes FDA hoops. The person/company that goes to the expense of testing it should, by Right, earn a Patent covering that food. That effort, the regulatory one, is what creates the value in that new property. Since the requirement to test is based upon DNA pattern, therefore the patent must be based upon the DNA, too.
For the government to require testing of a GM’d food, but not to grant patent would amount to a Tragedy of the Commons. There would be no GM work at all, for freeloaders would garner the most profit.

November 28, 2013 8:57 pm

Another fraud posing as a scientist. I am way past fed up with these pieces [***] who are making a mockery of true science for political agendas. I can foresee a time, in the future, when the citizens and all true scientists have finally had enough and run these frauds and their co-conspirators in government and peer review panels out of town on a rail. [trimmed]
[Yes, you’re angry, this is not called for. watch your language in public as a guest. Mod]

Paul Westhaver
November 28, 2013 9:07 pm

Stephen Rasey, The FDA has jurisdiction over food additives, processing and the LABEL that goes on the food. They regulate food so that it “safe and wholesome”. That is what they do.
In order to get the legal right to LABEL food in the USA, food producers are required to adhere to the standards.
Government Departments are silos. There is no right to Patent either due to extensive required testing or examination by another government department.. A patent is granted by the USPTO… maybe. if the product is novel and not in the public domain. The FDA and USPTO don’t talk. 🙂
What I find odd is that Patents are sought and granted on living things that don’t obey conventional distribution controls.
Seems very weird to me.

November 28, 2013 9:30 pm

Sasja Lundstr�m says:
November 28, 2013 at 11:44 am
I think this was not about whether GMO is safe or not, but about the scientific malpractice in general.
I think that if the journals would retract poorly evidenced climate studies based on climate models which omit whole bunch of factors and introduce bias through other – simmilar as in this case of the poorly evidenced study about the alleged health effects of roundup GMO on the mice model prone to cancer, the climate articles databases would quite thin.

November 28, 2013 11:25 pm

There was a matter in the 1980s, eerily similar to both this and to AGW, when quite a few in The Establishment thought there was a coming epidemic of cancers caused by man-made chemicals. The main support for various horror stories came from animal testing. It was concluded (one thought finally) that non-human animals were not to be taken as a proxy for humans.
The epidemic did not happen.
The main pro-scientists became anti-scientists.
The cancer problem dropped below the horizon.
It’s all in a meticulous book “The Apocalyptics” by Edith Efron, Simon & Schuster New York, 1986.
The book gives some nice pointers on how to quell an epidemic (of false scare stories).

björn from sweden
November 29, 2013 12:01 am

wow, I read the comments and slowly I begin to understand that people actually belived the study says the GMO-plants are toxic, LOL. Of course not, it is the toxicity of the herbicides the plants tolerate in copius amounts that is studied! The plants when unsprayed are of course not toxic only because they are labeled GMO. Further, the mice are prone to tumours and/or cancer, they must be or you would need thousands of mice studied over several decades to find any trends, that is standard protocol in toxicology. I cant find many problems with this study, and as usual you need more studies to confirm. And the similarities with Mann et al seems to be the preassure on the editor to retract a paper that challanges the “consensus” view that the herbicide roundup is perfectly harmless to humans, and or mice it seems. Maybe I should not go there but the people promoting GMO often are the same people promoting AGW and that in it self sets of all sorts of alarms in me.

Brian H
November 29, 2013 12:09 am

Mark Twain scores again.

November 29, 2013 12:15 am

@Paul Westerhaver: “The GMO DNA ie seeds are spread naturally so they can’t be protected the same way a copyrighted book or a product can be protected.”
One of the more interesting things I’ve seen was a collection of old Edison phonograph tubes; the celluloid things. There were a large number of original boxes with them. The each of which had a copy right notice on it that they were not to be sold by the purchaser. Bought once, owned once.
Another interesting issue is the cotton gin. Which was really little ore than a few bits of wood and some wire. What is interesting about it is that the manufacture of it wasn’t verboten, but the unauthorized manufacture and sale was.
By any traditional notion of the subject, then it is the planter that let the seeds off their property that is the violator. And the only one that can be held to account. But then, if GM companies went after their own customers, because wind, things would end rather quickly.

November 29, 2013 12:22 am

@Zeke: “Whether a person requires organic foods, has an allergy, has religious dietary standards, is a strict vegan, or the government thinks you should know the calories in a hamburger, these issues are best dealt with through personal research.”
Absolutely agreed. The best manner to do that is read the product information. And yes, of course it costs more. Everything costs more. In this case it only requires that the food companies fire up Microsoft Word and add a bit of 10 point text ‘may include GM corn’ and the deed is done. The whole process ought take around 5 minutes or so. If there is a market of interest, then the producer can source only GM or non GM product and spend the 5 minutes, once, to label it also. And no the ‘Organic’ label doesn’t cover it as it speaks to an entirely different subject. Though, personally, I’m rather appreciative of the ‘organic’ label as I know precisely not to buy those products.
@Zeke: ” and the GOVERNMENT REQUIRES you to test it extensively before you can sell it, then that REQUIREMENT creates a parallel RIGHT of PATENT. ”
It does no such thing. The government requires that cars are crash tested, but that doesn’t require that the make and model gets a patent. It’s orthogonal, not parallel.

November 29, 2013 12:23 am

What happened to the idea that the customer is always right? Some commentators seem to think that the producer is always right if he/she is American.

November 29, 2013 12:26 am

Pamela Gray says:
November 28, 2013 at 2:07 pm
Khwarizmi, given your fears, don’t eat roast Turkey for Thanksgiving. And your connection between LT and myalgia syndrome is very weak. The two main studies on this correlation have long been debunked.
= = = = = =
It would be great if you could point this silly uneducated driveler to the “two main studies” you mention in such vague terms, and also to where those studies were “debunked.”
The connection that you claim is “weak” exists only between a GM-produced batch of L-Tryptophan and EMS.
In fact, every case of EMS occurred in a consumer of the GM-produced batch..
The disease thus appears to be an artifact of Showa Denko’s GM-production of L-Tryptophan, which we know was tainted with mutant forms of the amino:
Showa Denko flushed every copy of the bacteria down the toilet as soon as the “connection” was an established fact, btw. (I mention that because the wiki doesn’t)
As far as I can tell, those deadly mutant forms of the amino acid have never occurred in any non-GM production process.
Roast turkey, which I don’t eat as a custom at thanksgiving because I’m an Aussie, happens to be high in L-Tryptophan. But no outbreaks of EMS seem to occur over thanksgiving in the U.S..
The correlation between GM-produced L-Tryptophan & EMS in not weak — it’s intractable.
I guess that’s why you didn’t point to where “those studies” (huh?) were “debunked.”

November 29, 2013 12:27 am

markx says:
November 28, 2013 at 7:53 pm

Disclaimer: I am a fan of GMO – I think this is the technology that will save future generations from starving to death.

Monsanto uses phrases like “patent infringement” and “seed piracy.” One question to very seriously consider is, “if a company can ‘patent’ a plant – GMO or not, then can we expect that company or another to attempt patent a GMO’d human being?” Would such a company argue seriously that such human could not reproduce with out a “license?’ At present the Supreme Court has barred such patenting, but the court’s argument was simply that the company that attempted the patent had not in fact “created” anything. It simply identified a natural phenomenon – the gene. The court however did indicate that modifying a gene into a form not found in nature was an “invention” and thus presumably patentable, even if it were “installed” in a heritable fashion in a human being. Think about that for a bit.
You have a genetic mutation that associated with a specific disorder. Some company like Monsanto works out a therapeutic regime that “corrects” the mutation modifying and making it harmless and the change is heritable. We’ll stipulate that the modification is harmless. But the company patents that modification and wins the patent on the grounds that the specific change has not occurred before in the human genome. Your child is safe from the genetic threat you carry, but, he or she is in fact a GMO carrying the “patented” property of the company. Twenty years later they want children. Currently patents become unenforceable after about 20 years. The period is a little variable because at present time delays allow for extending the term of patent’s force. And don’t forget almost all chemical and pharmaceutical companies really, really want to extend patents even farther. Theoretically, your child is a proprietary product of the company (not you and your spouse) and cannot reproduce without permission any more than a farmer can grow GMO corn to be set aside as seed stock with license. Monsanto claims this is restriction is to “level the playing field” for “honest” farmers [who can’t afford to defend a lawsuit and know it].
I don’t mind GMOs. I do have very grave doubts about the ethics of companies that patent them.

November 29, 2013 12:47 am

I actually read that study and was amazed how it ever got published. The study design was nothing short of amazing:
1. Rat strain and study duration: Use of rats that spontaneously develop tumours during their lifetime and study duration that covers their lifetime. Sure to get a lot of pics of tumours no matter what you fed the rats.
2. 1 control group and 9 test groups: the tumours developed by 20 control rats were compared to the tumours of 180 test rats that were fed various doses of GM corn and Roundup. Guess which group got more anomalies?
Basically, it was a game of dice, except one side got 1 throw and the other 9. Laws of probability gave Seralini his results.

Clovis Marcus
November 29, 2013 3:59 am

The damage is done. There are no shocking pictures to go with the retraction so it will not make a good front page.
Also I think the animal welfare overseers should have been a bit more vigilant. The animals could have been euthanized before the tumours were the size of a pea if the researchers weren’t going for shock value.

Coach Springer
November 29, 2013 6:28 am

“Unequivocally, the Editor-in-Chief found no evidence of fraud or intentional misrepresentation of the data.” To a Mann, this is exoneration. To a man, this is “don’t sue me, but you’ve exaggerated your point with fake science and ignored your responsibility to know better.”

Ian Drever
November 29, 2013 7:05 am

I dont understand why people are worried about GMOs? If a scientist targets and changes 1-5 genes in a plant, it becomes some sort of “Frankenfood”. But if another scientist bombards seeds with gamma rays, powerful chemicals or plant viruses, changing 1-1000 genes in random ways, this is “Organic”? Crazy world we live in. Gamma ray mutagenic seeds have been used for decades according to the IAEA.

November 29, 2013 7:19 am

Pamela Gray says:
November 28, 2013 at 1:50 pm
Sasja, just so you know, I have had plenty of experience with Round-up. I buy the generic brand to save money. Same chemical product, acts the same way, but way cheaper.
ah but..the carrier base chem is? yeah no one knows cos its not required to be listed, some tests apparently found the carrier or other unlisted ingredients ,as, if not more, toxic than the glyphosate.
then theres the patents
new and novel unlike etc
net hing its “substantially equivalent and safe?
and if you reckon seralin etc amount of rats were too low?
then whats Monsantos feed trials of around 6 calves inc one dead n replaced say for their numbers OR correct practice?
and sorry but a 30 day shed trial of a 2xmod soy meal with NO autopsy etc reports available?
yup that slack inept trial was enough to allow Aus FANZ to say that soy was ok for aussies!
as for roundup and chem fert etc not harming soils?
I ran a small soil test lab
sprayed/treated soils were microbially almost dead! finding much at all took repeated slides, bacteria isnt enough for healthy soil

November 29, 2013 7:21 am

@Bjorn from Sweden,
” Maybe I should not go there but the people promoting GMO often are the same people promoting AGW and that in it self sets of all sorts of alarms in me.”
Really? It is the AGW folks teaming up with the Anti-GMO crowd that hang out with the “save the polar bears” nutjobs that break organic bread with the “save Himalayan rain forests” wackos that trade hairnets and bathing techniques with the “I got a poor education in Art History so I can’t find a job especially with all my facial tattoos and piercings so I hate all capitalist pigs” whiners. But maybe your professional protesters do things differently in Sweden………?
And perhaps in the laboratory they “drench” glyphosate on plants, in practice, we try to use the least amounts possible. A typical application rate is: 1qt glyphosate mixed in 12 gallons of water as carrier sprayed on 1 acre (43560 sq ft). We raise, on average, 30,000 plants per acre. There are 946.35 grams per quart. So 946.35/43560= 0.021725g per square foot. Although each plant has 1.452 square feet of space (43560/30000) at the time of application the corn plant covers less than .10 of its allotted space. (we are targeting weeds remember?) For simplicity we will use the 0.10 sq ft for plant size, so for each application of glyphosate on corn, each plant will receive and metabolize .0021725g of glyphosate. That’s hardly a “drenching” If you want to drill it down even more……….of that 1quart glyphosate per acre, depending on the formulation, usually at least 80% is inert ingredients.

November 29, 2013 8:07 am

Jquip says: “And no the ‘Organic’ label doesn’t cover it as it speaks to an entirely different subject.”
“Welcome to the National Organic Program
USDA Organic Seal
What is organic?
Organic is a labeling term that indicates that the food or other agricultural product has been produced through approved methods that integrate cultural, biological, and mechanical practices that foster cycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity. Synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, irradiation, and genetic engineering may not be used.
As for your other remarks about how simple and easy labeling and enforcement would be, this is already addressed in the excerpt from the Washington Wheat Growers quote above. The labeling requirements, the creation of a bureaucracy, the enformcement, and the tracking are extensive. The legislation rejected in my state affects all farmers, even those who are not even using GMOs (wheat), and dairy and cattle farmers, who are purchasing the corn to feed the cattle and poultry. Who you listen to, the growers and the people affected by the law, or the government and activists – this is your choice. But the costs of labeling and enforcement are more extensive than the impression most people have. Furthermore, it is meaningless because there is no test that actually gives results finding a difference between the corn, or the cattle or livestock fed by the corn and those who are not.
The second quote about the patent I did not write.

November 29, 2013 10:33 am

Clovis, these tumors are larger than any we are allowed to grow in rats, either in the US or UK.

Doug Huffman
November 29, 2013 11:31 am

Brian H says: November 29, 2013 at 12:09 am “Mark Twain scores again.”
Nyaah, Mark Twain didn’t say that, P. T. Barnum did. Unless you mean what Twain quoted from Benjamin Disraeli “Figures often beguile me,” he wrote, “particularly when I have the arranging of them myself; in which case the remark attributed to Disraeli would often apply with justice and force: ‘There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.'” (Mark Twain (1906-09-07). “Chapters from My Autobiography”. North American Review. Project Gutenberg. Retrieved 2013-11-29.)

Pamela Gray
November 29, 2013 12:00 pm

The folks involved in the side discussion about L Tryptophan- related illnesses should spend time reading research articles instead of organic watermelon sites.
In addition, those who think supplements are better than prescription drugs need to take out a hefty health and life insurance policy. The potential serious side-affects of the unregulated manufacturing and importation free-for-all of supplements seem to breeze by the watermelon heads. Specific to L Tryptophan used as a dietary supplement:
“In 1989, a life-threatening condition called eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome (EMS) occurred in many people using L-tryptophan and some died from the condition. All of these people had taken L-tryptophan distributed by a company in Japan. This L-tryptophan was found to contain trace levels of impure ingredients. Since that time, the FDA has limited the availability of L-tryptophan in the U.S. However, the increased use of the Internet has made many dietary supplements available from non-U.S. sources.
There have been no published cases of EMS within the last several years, but you should be aware of the symptoms. Stop using L-tryptophan and call your doctor or care practitioner at once if you have any of these signs of EMS: severe muscle pain (most often in the shoulders, back, or legs); weakness, numbness, tingling, or burning pain (especially at night); tremors or twitching muscle movements; swelling in any part of your body; skin changes (dryness, yellowing, hardening); breathing difficulty; uneven heartbeat.”
So for those who think GM is the issue here, it was an impurity introduced in the processing (probably from the bacteria ladened fermentation step) of this supplement that has been implicated, not the pure or genetically modified substance itself. There have been cases of the myalgia syndrome from other supplements as well. Bacteria impurities were also implicated.
Be careful what you put in your mouth. If it is L tryptophan you want, eat Turkey and other food sources of this chemical, food that you wash and prepare in the kitchen. Don’t take supplements. You don’t know where that supplement has been. Yuck.

November 29, 2013 1:04 pm

Thanks for your patience.
It seems that America is so polarized that many have trouble realizing that their favorite slanted news source may be correct on one issue and have it backward on the next.
In fact, the way it works is there is the charade of multiple views being presented but the winning is rigged. Punches are pulled, the ball gets dropped and before you know it each issue is decided to the favor of the powerful interests while the interests of the public go by the wayside.
That’s our two party system as well. They have it down to a science.

November 29, 2013 1:12 pm

I don’t worry about small doses of poisons. A little hormesis can be good for you.

November 29, 2013 1:19 pm

Is there a distributor for organic deadly nightshade?

November 29, 2013 2:52 pm

This article seems relevant.

November 29, 2013 4:13 pm

I see no case against labelling. The market should decide, and that requires labelling.
I also dont see why we need to go to such ludicrous measures as GM for something as trivial as Glyphosate resistant corn, plant a field with corn, spray it with glyphosate, select the survivors , repeat. Have to say that this process works well on my weeds, of which I have a well established glyphosate resistant crop.

November 29, 2013 5:09 pm

By finding a quote that neglects mention of those GM bacteria (lying by omission), referring only to some vague “contaminants”, Pamela continues to pretend that the genetically engineered L-Trypotophan disaster was something else.
Then she tries to shift blame for the tragedy onto the neo-hippies and their passion for a free market for dietary supplements…
The potential serious side-affects of the unregulated manufacturing and importation [of] free-for-all of supplements seem to breeze by the watermelon heads.
Yet when the regulated manufacturing and regulated prescribing of FDA-approved VIOXX left
around half a million Americans actually dead–not potentially at risk of something vague but scary happening–Pamela didn’t complain. Few people did. Few people really care.
I’m pretty sure that acetaminophen (paracetamol) kills more people than dietary supplements do, Pamela.. In fact, a dietary supplement (L-cysteine or NAC) is the antidote for acetaminophen poisoning.
This study on 200 rats, with 1 control group of 20, plus 9 test groups of 20 rats, looks pretty reasonable, compared to say, this designed-to-fail study on only 5 near-dead humans with late-state brain tumors – a study that was published and never retracted:
The study on 5 humans didn’t threaten a powerful U.S. corporation, so nobody kicked up a fuss, demanded retraction, or called the study “bogus.”

Brian H
November 29, 2013 9:03 pm

No, I was referring to the observation that one reaps such a wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.

Janice Moore
November 29, 2013 9:38 pm

Re: Bob L. (at 4:13pm today) — “I see no case against labeling. The market should decide, and that requires labeling.”
A. To address your second point first, in a free market, one does not require labeling. It is allowed now. That is, instead of a socialist policy that requires all to label, those who want to label are free to do so.

“Buy our hash! It’s GMO-free!!! Yes, it costs a few cents more, but — your family’s health is worth it!!!!”

(in tiny print somewhere…. “no,itisn’tprovenbutdoitjustincase)
Lots of people already fall for the “organic” (and/or the junk science about pesticides or herbicides) scam. Let them fall for the “GMO-free” scam (out of ignorance of the science of gene modification), too. It is a free country.
B. There is a very good case against forced labeling: liberty. (See the Constitution of the United States of America and relevant case law) If I don’t want to support junk science by putting that misleading term on my can of beans, I have the freedom to not do that — just because I am that sovereign entity under Natural Law, a Person.
Further, the labeling is part of an anti-free market farming/food processing propaganda campaign. You may say, “Well, so what if there are junk labels; just ignore them.” The labels are only part of the picture. The l1es told in “public education campaigns” about what the label falsely implies will fool enough of the gullible, ignorant, public that the market share of the non-government-approved product will dwindle to the point that those farmers/processors go out of business. No one should be forced to either: sell what the government tells one to sell or go out of business. That is not liberty, that is tyranny, a.k.a., SOCIALISM.
Dear Bob, L.,
Please forgive my fervent tone (if I had watered down my writing style above I would not have been completely candid and I am big on TRUTH). My comments are largely directed not at you but at those who are doing all they can, in as many directions as they can, to destroy liberty. I remain your ally for truth in science!
And, thanks for listening (I hope),
And, yes, Zeke, I too voted NO on 522. GO, FREEDOM! And truth.

Janice Moore
November 29, 2013 9:45 pm

Dear WUWT allies for truth — my 9:38pm comment is in mod-er-ation at this moment. If you see it, if you know what the verboten words were, would you please tell me? I wish there was a list of them available to review. Is there is one? Where?

Doug Huffman
November 30, 2013 4:12 am

Brian H says: November 29, 2013 at 9:03 pm “Doug; [ … ]” I wondered, but used your bot mot as a springboard to my sarcastic dismissal; there’s a sucker for statistics born every minute.
I’m reading Popper’s criticism of Hegel’s dialectic, and that above seems a fine synthesis.

November 30, 2013 6:12 am
The reply from the Seralini.
Professor Seralini replies to FCT journal over study retraction
Professor Gilles-Eric Séralini and his team have responded to the letter from A. Wallace Hayes, editor of Food and Chemical Toxicology (FCT), telling Prof Séralini that he intended to retract his study on NK603 maize and Roundup.
Here’s the retraction notice from Elsevier, the publisher of FCT:
Response by Prof GE Seralini and colleagues to A. Wallace Hayes, editor of Food and Chemical Toxicology
28 Nov 2013
We, authors of the paper published in FCT more than one year ago on the effects of Roundup and a Roundup-tolerant GMO (Séralini et al., 2012), and having answered to critics in the same journal (Séralini et al., 2013), do not accept as scientifically sound the debate on the fact that these papers are inconclusive because of the rat strain or the number of rats used. We maintain our conclusions. We already published some answers to the same critics in your Journal, which have not been answered (Séralini et al., 2013).
Rat strain
The same strain is used by the US national toxicology program to study the carcinogenicity and the chronic toxicity of chemicals (King-Herbert et al., 2010). Sprague Dawley rats are used routinely in such studies for toxicological and tumour-inducing effects, including those 90-day studies by Monsanto as basis for the approval of NK603 maize and other GM crops (Sprague Dawley rats did not came from Harlan but from Charles-River) (Hammond et al., 2004; Hammond et al., 2006a; Hammond et al., 2006b).
A brief, quick and still preliminary literature search of peer-reviewed journals revealed that Sprague Dawley rats were used in 36-month studies by (Voss et al., 2005) or in 24-month studies by (Hack et al., 1995), (Minardi et al., 2002), (Klimisch et al., 1997), (Gamez et al., 2007).Some of these studies have been published in Food and Chemical Toxicology.
Number of rats, OECD guidelines
OECD guidelines (408 for 90 day study, 452 chronic toxicity and 453 combined carcinogenicity/chronic toxicity study) always asked for 20 animals per group (both in 1981 and 2009 guidelines) although the measurement of biochemical parameters can be performed on 10 rats, as indicated. We did not perform a carcinogenesis study, which would not have been adopted at first, but a long-term chronic full study, 10 rats are sufficient for that at a biochemical level according to norms and we have measured such a number of parameters! The disturbance of sexual hormones or other parameters are sufficient in themselves in our case to interpret a serious effect after one year. The OPLS-DA statistical method we published is one of the best adapted. For tumours and deaths, the chronology and number of tumours per animal have to be taken into account. Any sign should be regarded as important for a real risk study. Monsanto itself measured only 10 rats of the same strain per group on 20 to conclude that the same GM maize was safe after 3 months (Hammond et al., 2004).
The statistical analysis should not be done with historical data first, the comparison is falsified, thus 50 rats per group is useless
The use of historical data falsifies health risk assessments because the diet is contaminated by dibenzo-p-dioxins and dibenzofurans (Schecter et al., 1996), mercury (Weiss et al., 2005), cadmium and chromium among other heavy metals in a range of doses that altered mouse liver and lung gene expression and confounds genomic analyses (Kozul et al., 2008). They also contained pesticides or plasticizers released by cages or from water sources (Howdeshell et al., 2003). Historical data also come from rats potentially fed on GMOs, some animal pellets in the world do indicate that. All that corresponds to the contamination levels for which we have detected some effects in our treated rats versus appropriate controls.
2-year historical data mammary fibroadenoma rate from Charles River SD females ranged from 13 to 62% (Giknis, 2004). We obtain a lot less in our controls, the real comparators, a lot more in treated rats. This makes our results significant, like for deaths.
Double standards
A factual comparative analysis of the rat feeding trial by the Séralini’s group and the Monsanto trials clearly reveals that if the Séralini experiments are considered to be insufficient to demonstrate harm, logically, it must be the same for those carried out by Monsanto to prove safety. Basically, all previous studies finding adverse effects of GE crops have been treated by regulators with the attitude: only those studies showing adverse effects receive a rigorous evaluation of their experimental and statistical methods, while those that claim proof of safety are taken at face value. All studies that reported no adverse effects were accepted as proof of safety regardless of these manifest (but deemed irrelevant) deficiencies of their methods.
The review by (Snell et al., 2012) illustrates this issue. In the abstract, the authors state “Results from all the 24 studies [reviewed] do not suggest any health hazards […]” – taking all those studies at face value. Yet in their review, the authors find numerous weaknesses of similar or greater severity [than those] raised for the Séralini group’s paper. For example, of the 24 studies they evaluated 16 (67% of all studies) did not mention using the isogenic line as control (interpreted as having not used them), many did not describe the methods in any detail, and according to the reviewers had other deficiencies too.
FCT should retract the Hammond et al. paper on Roundup tolerant maize for all these reasons, published for Monsanto’s authorization, or consider that each of these papers is part of the scientific debate.

November 30, 2013 7:03 am

This thread is a keeper. Thanks for all the great information.
It seems to me that labelling should not be required for foods containing GM products and we should just assume that they contain GM much as we do with , say, water or gluten. People who think there is a market for GM free foods should use that fact as a marketing tool and label their products as GM free.
GM is a big scary monster to a minority. They should be able to find foods that suit their fears while the rest of us just get on with living.
I have always felt the anti-GMO camp is less concerned with health than they are with just hating one more big, successful company. It’s a shame that this anti-corporate ideology has such a hold on a part of our society but I suppose that is the price we pay for having so much to be thankful for already.
Happy Thanksgiving Wutters, it’s a wonderful world.

Jeff C
November 30, 2013 9:52 am

Another take on the entire retraction incident from greenmedinfo (albeit not a impartial source). They contend Monsanto lobbying led to the creation of a new editor position at the journal that was filled by an individual with industry ties. This ultimately drove the retraction, they walk through the back story at the link. Interesting reading.

Brian H
November 30, 2013 3:36 pm

Doug Huffman says:
November 30, 2013 at 4:12 am

Twain was actually referring to “something fascinating about Science”, so the quip is even more a propos.

Pamela Gray
November 30, 2013 4:05 pm

Great summary of the L tryptophan issue. Again, L tryptophan has a long record of being a safe chemical found in many foods. Because of its utility as an alternative to stronger prescription meds, there was quite the rush to make it into tablet form and sell it as a supplement. Natural bacteria produce this enzyme but at a relatively slow rate when compared to the demand. So short cuts and less safe methods were developed to make the bacteria produce it at a higher rate. A company in Japan engineered a bacteria (fiddled with its DNA) so that L tryptophan was being produced at a much higher rate, allowing this company to capture a big part of the market. Problem was the over-charged bacteria also made L typotophan molecules bind together in pairs, producing a toxic affect when ingested by humans.
So at least let’s be exact. It was the bacteria that was genetically modified, not the L tryptophan molecule.

November 30, 2013 5:10 pm

this story is not over:
2 pages: 29 Nov (updated 30 Nov): Forbes: Jon Entine: Seralini Threatens Lawsuit In Wake Of Retraction Of Infamous GMO Cancer Rat Study
(Jon Entine, executive director of the Genetic Literacy Project, is a senior fellow at the Center for Health & Risk Communication and STATS (Statistical Assessment Service) at George Mason University.)
Claire Robinson, editor of the that site and the anti-GMO activist site GM Watch, blasted the retraction announcement as “illicit, unscientific, and unethical,” the first salvo in what will no doubt be a vigorous defense of the study in the weeks ahead. “Hayes’ decision will tarnish the reputation of FCT and will increase public mistrust of science in general and genetically modified foods in particular,” she wrote.
Robinson also went after Richard Goodman, who runs the AllergenOnline database at the University of Nebraska. Goodman is an internationally respected expert on allergies and the health effects of GM foods—but also a former Monsanto scientist. He was brought in by the FTC earlier this year to clean up the journal’s peer review process. As Robinson acknowledges, “there is no proof that Goodman was responsible for the retraction of Prof Séralini’s study.”
Goodman declined to comment directly, but numerous people have confirmed to me that he was not involved in the evaluation process and was not even aware of what if any action the editor had been contemplating. With one of the central pillars of the anti-GMO industry now officially discredited, expect more Robinson-like personal attacks in the days and weeks ahead…
Robinson also claimed that the retraction violated scientific guidelines laid out by the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE). COPE guidelines state that the grounds for a journal to retract a paper are: (1) clear evidence that the findings are unreliable due to misconduct (e.g. data fabrication) or honest error; (2) Plagiarism or redundant publication; or (3) Unethical research. Perhaps fearing legal action, Hayes wrote in his letter that the independent examination of Séralini’s raw data showed “no evidence of fraud or intentional misrepresentation” and nothing “incorrect.”
Robinson’s rebuke highlights just how badly Hayes and Elsevier has mishandled this entire affair…
The entire episode, including the oddly worded retraction statement, is a black eye for the beleaguered journal and Elsevier. “Their motive now appears to be to deny culpability, protect your reputation, and immunize yourself against lawsuits instead of do the right thing,” I was emailed by Bruce Chassy, professor emeritus and retired chair at the Department of Food Science at the University of Illinois. “The narrowness of the retraction overlooks many other deficiencies and weakens their case in the lawsuit that will inevitably follow.”…
Rumors abound that Séralini is already in contact with legal counsel and is set to pursue this issue in court, and perhaps in multiple courts. The disgraced scientist, in an attempt to rehabilitate his reputation, could also turn around and submit the article in its current or revised form to a third-tier journal, including the many pay-for-play publications that cater to activist scientists.
anything from Elsevier deserves a sceptical appraisal:
Wikipedia: Elsevier
Criticism and controversies…

November 30, 2013 6:00 pm

have been trying to find the following which i recalled on an Elsevier page way back, but it’s been removed:
Feb 2012: AustralianClimateMadness:
from comment by Baldrick: …
The ‘scientific’ journal New Scientist is published by a company by the name of Reed Elsevier, of which Elsevier is a subsidiary company.
Elsevier proudly boasts on it’s website:
“We are also proud to announce that many Elsevier Editors and Editorial Board members have served significant roles as authors and reviewers for the 2007 and three previous IPCC reports conducted since 1990. Rajendra Pachauri, Chair of the IPCC, is an Editorial Board Member of (our) Energy Policy and an Associate Editor for the Encylopedia of Energy.”
following is the blog of Professor Rob Elliott, an academic economist, with an interest in all things international and environmental..
…currently a Professor of International and Environmental Economics at the University of Birmingham..
Jan 2008: IPCC member articles for free from Elsevier
From the inbox:
We are also proud to announce that many Elsevier Editors and Editorial Board members have served significant roles as authors and reviewers for the 2007 and three previous IPCC reports conducted since 1990. Rajendra Pachauri, Chair of the IPCC, is an Editorial Board Member of Energy Policy and an Associate Editor for the Encylopedia of Energy. View Dr. Pachauri’s Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech.
In recognition of the importance of the work of the IPCC, we are pleased to offer free access to selected articles on climate change written by members of the IPCC and published by Elsevier LINK
GMO industry has long been a Stakeholder in CAGW – saving the planet & all that jazz!
Monsanto: 2012 Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability Report LINK
The topic of sustainability has taken center stage around the world and has driven the attention and focus of a growing number of powerful voices and interests around the world. We recognize that we have a place in these discussions and a commitment to be a leading corporate citizen…
You will see this year we took some significant steps to further embed sustainability in our business and to increase public awareness of our environmental, societal and governance programs and performance…
This process built upon and enhanced our ongoing stakeholder engagement efforts and is helping define our business strategy…
Together, I’m convinced we can help farmers achieve more and help all of us and our world in the process.

November 30, 2013 6:05 pm

i just followed up my earlier comment re
2 pages: 29 Nov: Forbes: Jon Entine: Seralini Threatens Lawsuit In Wake Of Retraction Of Infamous GMO Cancer Rat Study
but just noticed it is still in moderation whereas the followup comment has gone through!

December 2, 2013 6:08 am

It seems to me that Anthony is pretty quick to jump to a conclusion on this complicated controversy. Sasha’s comments above are worth consideration and some of Pamela Gray’s seem to just be reading off the label of her generic roundup.
Then, out of the blue, in May 2013, six months after the Seralini study release, Elsevier announced that it had created a new position, ‘Associate Editor for Biotechnology’. The person they hired to fill it was Richard E. Goodman, a former Monsanto employee who in addition was with the Monsanto pro-GMO lobby organization, the International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI) which develops industry-friendly risk assessment methods for GM foods and chemical food contaminants and inserts them into government regulations.
As one critical scientific website posed the obvious ethical sham of hiring Monsanto people to control GMO publications, “Does Monsanto now effectively decide which papers on biotechnology are published in FCT? And is this part of an attempt by Monsanto and the life science industry to seize control of science?”
Then on November 24, 2013, six months after Goodman took control of GMO issues at the Journal, Dr. A. Wallace Hayes, the editor of the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology reportedly decided to retract the study by the team of Professor Séralini.
The reasons for the extraordinary retraction a full year after publishing are in violation of the guidelines for retractions in scientific publishing set out by the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), of which FCT is a member. According to the guidelines, the only grounds for a journal to retract a paper are:
• Clear evidence that the findings are unreliable due to misconduct (e.g. data fabrication) or honest error;
• Plagiarism or redundant publication;
• Unethical research.
Séralini’s paper meets none of these criteria and Hayes admits as much. In his letter informing the professor of his decision, Hayes concedes that examination of Séralini’s raw data showed no evidence of fraud or intentional misrepresentation of the data.

not an enviro mental
December 2, 2013 3:47 pm

as i understand this study, it used the same standards and procedures as the original monsanto study that was used to pass gmo as safe, all that substantially differed was that this study was longer than the 3 month monsanto study. the criticism leveled at this study therefore also applies equally to the original monsanto study which stopped at 3 months. I don’t understand the retraction and the flag waving i see on this thread, are we saying politics cannot influence science and journal editors? where did our memories go?
journal editor works/worked for monsanto

selective skepticism is dogma

December 2, 2013 4:26 pm

The complaining about politics and special interests here is a criticism that works both ways. The anti-gm activists along with powerful and well-funded international NGOs, are converging to use methods in science which were problematic from the beginning. The further defense of this shoddy methodology and the claims of persecution by Monsato are readily recognizable. It hardly needs pointing out that the mo of the anti-gm activists are very similar to the mo of the environmentalists and UN activists who use the argument that any one who disagrees with the settled science of global warming is in the pay of Big Oil. Once again:
“The main findings were that a particular strain of rats studied over their entire lifetimes developed more tumours and died earlier if they were fed on the GM maize variety. Others, fed on conventional maize but provided with water containing low levels of Roundup, also developed more tumours than the controls.
But here the plot thickens. Despite these superficially worrying findings, the design of the experiment appears to be incapable of demonstrating any effects with any statistical rigour. 25% of the (smaller) control group also died after developing tumours, but some of the test groups (it is unclear which) actually had fewer health problems. There was also no dose-response effect, which would normally occur only if a substance was toxic at extremely low levels, which is highly unlikely for a crop or compound which has been widely used for many years.”

December 2, 2013 4:32 pm

A microbiologist provides a very helpful observation about the publishing process and the role of Elsevier in all of this:
COPE actually has a whole slew of guidelines and recommendations for unethical conduct and honest error, and I think the paper falls in the category of “honest error” as grounds for its retraction. But in speaking about this whole thing with the spouse, I think that it would have been better if the journal had admitted that the article should not have been published in the first place, and stated that the journal and its reviewers made a mistake. I know that it’s wishful thinking. I know that it would never happen. But if the journal came out and stated, in an honest manner, the real reason why the article is being retracted then there would be no doubts and there could not be claims of secrecy or non-transparency, as reported by GM Watch’s statement on the matter. The Editor did issue a statement, but fell short on accepting responsibility. I think the Journal’s editorial staff should take some of the blame, because they definitely are not innocent by-standers in this matter. Let’s face it: if I was able to find fatal flaws in the very first paper related to GMOs that I ever read, then their experienced reviewers should have definitely been able to do the same.

December 2, 2013 4:46 pm

Additional variables not controlled for in the study which were not mentioned on this thread are the following:
“Tom Sanders, head of nutritional research at King’s College London, says that the strain of rat the French team used gets breast tumours easily, especially when given unlimited food, or maize contaminated by a common fungus that causes hormone imbalance, or just allowed to age. There were no data on food intake or tests for fungus in the maize, so we don’t know whether this was a factor.”

December 3, 2013 6:41 am

This has been an interesting thread.
I am against having GMOs, or, as I term them, FrankenFoods, as part of our food supply. I’ve read the research and have determined that the idea behind GMOs is an eventual suborning of our food.
One thing you may wish to investigate is the “Terminator gene” present in all Monsanto seeds. The seeds can be made to non-germinate, via some trigger controlled by Monsanto. This should be of some concern to us all.
Chelation is the method by which Roundup works. Because of this chelation, the foods are rendered nutritionally devoid of value. Chelation keeps nutrients from all organisms, humans included.
My mind isn’t made up about the dangers of GMOs, but I do think that we need independent research done. Those who complain about such research hampering “progress” should allow for unbiased scientists to replicate their findings.
Let’s have more discussion on this topic.

Keith Sketchley
December 4, 2013 12:05 pm

Jeff C, be advised that I avoid “organically grown” food because I am concerned about what is substances are being bred into plants to resist pests that insecticides would kill (, and the naivete of organic farmers (such as use of manure as fertilizer, it must be properly composted to kill pathogens).
I avoid leaves on the forest floor (which may contain anthrax), and get immunized against tetanus (which comes from soil, the vaccine is probably artificial stuff).
I use canola oil every day, while originally developed by non-GMO methods most production here is of GMO varieties.
I don’t object to labeling foods as GMO-based, as long as the breeding and fertilization of organic foods is identified on packaging. Then I’ll choose the GMO-based products.
There is a pernicious campaign by the New Left to categorize anything human-invented as bad, and nature as benevolent. Some idiots at Canada Safeway advertised that – like Mother Nature – they wouldn’t lie to us. Sure I said [see above re anthrax and tetanus, plus poisonous mushrooms, the roots of one colour of Camus lilly being poisonous but another colour not]. Nature is neutral, in the sense that it is what it is and doesn’t have motives.
The book “Return of the Primitive” covers some of the New Left’s craziness.

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