Written by Kevin Folta
The 2012 work by Seralini et al has long been retracted, and months later friends and admirers of Prof Seralini still are screaming foul and injustice, even leveling claims of censorship. In the recent online twitter rally over at #SupportSeralini, you can read claims about how Monsanto controls all scientific journals and their editors, effectively expunging any evidence of transgenic plant product harm from the scientific literature.
However, there’s only one person controlling censorship at this point– Prof. Seralini himself!
The way scientific publication works is that there are hundreds of journals, and all of them are eager to publish work that will raise their visibility and credibility as a scientific resource. If the claims of the retracted work were backed by solid methods, sufficient numbers, reproducible data, appropriate controls with appropriate interpretations, then there is no question that the work would be worthy of publication in the finest journals.
The paper claims evidence that both insertion of a gene and the glyphosate herbicide are intensely tumorigenic. If sufficient evidence was provided, the work would have tremendous support in the scientific community and in publication. Approximately 70% of processed food products contain ingredients from a GM plant, and definitive data would be absolutely noteworthy and of broad interest.
Those that claim a conspiracy at Environmental and Chemical Toxicology should refocus their charge. Instead of concocting wild associations between companies and journals, why not simply just find another journal to publish the work? As a publishing scientist, if I felt I was unfairly treated by one journal, I would simply move along to the next. Editorial Boards are hardly anonymous, and an author can easily request editorial support from independent scientists with zero ties to corporate ag.
The Seralini 2012 work was retracted. Still today there exists a sharp rift between scientists that questioned the methods, numbers and interpretations from the beginning, and a section of the public that believes the data represent sufficient evidence of danger. What is correct? The answer is in publication. If the original work was scientifically rigorous, it will find a new home in the literature. More importantly, it will seed hundreds of new publications that will identify the mechanisms that connect an inserted gene or an herbicide to tumors.
A failure to re-publish is also quite telling.
At this point efforts like #SupportSeralini need to change their focus from conspiratorial allegations to encouraging Prof. Seralini to publish the work with sufficient numbers and controls. If the story was real, it is something all of us need to know about ASAP, and there is no company that can somehow override hard, reproducible, statistically relevant data from well designed experiments.
Written by Guest Expert
Kevin Folta has studied biology and agricultural biotechnology for over thirty years. His research examines the role of light in controlling plant traits, especially those relevant to agriculture. His group is known for using innovative genomics approaches to identify genes associated with fruit quality, especially flavors and aromas.
Good point, very revealing.
Quite right Kevin. Free-market competition within the world of academic journals would indeed dictate that someone out there would happily publish Seralini’s results, if only they held together.
A free-market argument can likewise be made against Europe’s claim that GMOs are unsafe. After all, European farmers have been feeding GM corn from the United States to their livestock for over a decade now. If just one cow had spontaneously aborted a calf as a result, there’d have been a lawsuit by now because a phalanx of anti-GMO “organic” lawyers here in the United States would just LOVE to take such a case to trial and split the profits.
But, alas, such pronouncements will fall on deaf ears because, you see, anti-GMO organic activists fail to comprehend the free market.
Mischa, The antis do not comprehend the potential of the free market as many of them are leftists who do not want to admit that “big ” business can be anything but exploitive. The also will not admit that free markets can be a good thing. The more I argued with them on the linked in site. The more leftist their arguments turned. Some where there is an undefined level above which a farm is no longer a wholesome, clean family operation. Sometimes I wonder how low the real percentage of anti g.e. is compared to lefties hiding behind fake concerns while pushing their real anti business agenda. While I freely admit that big business can be almost as damagingly corrupt as big gov’t. I get sick of the hypocrisy. Your argument that the lawyers would have found the evidence if it exists has been used quite often there. Without effect.A very bright lady named Lucia DeSouza posted several papers indicating that a Seneff article posted was not accurate. The Seneff poster failed to answer her. But then several hours later posted the same Seneff paper in another thread commenting that this was the best link he ever found. My question to you smart folks out there is. How high a percentage of the anti movement leadership is almost completely integrity free? If a fairly uneducated [formally] guy such as myself can figure this out in spite of starting with a slight anti bias. Why don’t better educated ones admit the truth?
All I can say Eric is I’ve been fighting since 1993 to convince certain activists within my circle of acquaintances to see the light. But it’s like trying to make them see that Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Castro and Guevara were murderers. They simply won’t believe it. Not ever.
Well, Mischa you are a determined one. Effective sidestep to the group of lefties mentioned. I quit the linked in group. Waayy to many flat out liars there. My problem will come up again when they come up with g.e. crops such as sweet peppers that fix N. Or something similar. I sell at markets in Gainesville Fl. and the anti bias is bad. I probably need to get materials for farm tour days and market events to try to break down resistance before I find that a g.e. crop would be in the interest of both myself and my customers. But I can’t grow it cause I can’t sell it. Hey, maybe we can get Kevin to write a few columns for the local paper.
What you are trying to do sounds commendable Eric. But what’s missing here is support from industry groups like BIO and CropLife which have, sadly, taken a wait-and-see approach to defending the science of biotechnology. It’s the same with the executives at Monsanto, Bayer and Syngenta. The silence is deafening.
I wonder what happens to Rats 1 year into life being fed GMO’s, and then switching back to normal food.
Did their health improve or was enough damage done in their first 1 year ( time-wise relatable to the 15 years we’ve been poisoning ourselves) to be saved from tumors?
Garret, your comment assumes that we have been poisoning ourselves. This is incorrect. If ypou think otherwise please post proof or evidence of some type. Also from a common sense standpoint it is difficult to believe your question about a tumor prone strain of rats “improving” by switching to non g.e. feed is anything but an indication of not having read much of anything on the subject of the serralini paper.
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