French academies trash GM corn cancer study
A controversial study that linked genetically modified maize to cancer in lab rats is a "scientific non-event", six French scientific academies said in a rare joint statement Friday.
"This work does not enable any reliable conclusion to be drawn," they say, adding that the publicity surrounding the publication has "spread fear among the public."
The joint statement - an extremely rare event in French science - is unsigned and issued in the names of the national academies of agriculture, medicine, pharmacy, science, technology and veterinary studies.
In September a paper, whose lead author was Gilles-Eric Seralini at the University of Caen, said rats fed with US GM giant Monsanto’s NK603 corn or doses of Roundup herbicide developed tumours.
Critics accused Seralini of manipulating the media to boost the impact of his findings and accused his experiments of statistical bias.
Two fast-track official investigations into the study are to be unveiled next Monday.
"Given the numerous gaps in methods and interpretation, the data presented in this article cannot challenge previous studies which have concluded that NK603 corn is harmless from the health point of view, as are, more generally, genetically modified plants that have been
authorised for consumption by animals and humans," the academies' statement says.
"Hyping the reputation of a scientist or a team is a serious misdemeanour when it helps to spread fear among the public that is not based on any firm conclusion,” it adds but admits that no "in-depth evaluation" has been carried out yet.