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Biologists Association sees serious shortcomings in the study on GM maize
According to German biologists, the French study on genetically modified corn recently published in the journal "Food and Chemical Toxicology" has serious shortcomings. According to the French study, rats that had been fed with GM maize from the American agricultural giant Monsanto for a longer period of time died significantly earlier than animals that did not eat GM maize.
Statistical approach of the study on GM maize not justifiable "The study design is not justifiable either in terms of the choice of animals or the static approach," explained Professor Diethard Tautz, Vice President of the Association of Biology, Life Sciences and Biomedicine in Germany (Vbio). "The vortex that the publication triggered is in no way appropriate, demands for immediate consequences cannot be justified," reports the geneticist from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology in Plön.
The French researchers led by Gilles-Eric Seralini, a professor at the University of Caen and an expert in genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in food, had observed 200 rats in a period of two years. The animals were divided into three groups: the first group received the NK603 from Monsanto, the second was fed the same variety of GM maize that was additionally treated with the Roundup pesticide. The third group ate conventional corn, which was also sprayed with the pesticide.
According to the French researcher, "rats fed with GM maize died much younger and became much more likely to develop cancer". After 17 months, five times more rats died in the GM maize group than in the group fed conventional corn. The study showed that "most female animals developed breast cancer and male rats often skin or kidney tumors". Seralini spoke of alarming results, and as the background expert explained, the genetic manipulation would alter the corn so that it was tolerant to pesticides or would even produce its own.
Biologists sharply criticize study on GM maize According to the VBio association, the tumors that occurred in rats fed with GM maize were typical of the strain of rats used. In addition, the number of experimental animals was too small to obtain representative results. In a previous study with 3,000 rats, around half of the animals died within two years from tumors or other diseases listed by Seralini, the association said.
The subgroups that the French researchers had formed were too small with only ten animals to make statistical statements. "Overall, the data presented indicate that nothing other than statistical fluctuations were measured in the experiment," it said in a statement by the VBio. For example, no dose dependency of the effect had been taken into account. In the VBio, researchers, institutes and companies from the Life sciences group.
According to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), genetically modified corn NK 603 is approved as a raw material for processing in the food industry, for example, but cultivation is prohibited. The agency has not yet commented on the study. (ag)
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Image: Verena Münch / pixelio.de