Date Added to website 19th November 2014
Yet another fraudulent GMO "safety study".........
This new paper, arising from research funded by the EU taxpayer through the GRACE programme, has recently been published. It purported to show no toxic effects in rats that were fed on a diet including MON810 maize. However, when Testbiotech looked carefully at the data in the study, it became clear that there WERE toxic effects which had simply been hidden away in a data manipulation exercise. This looks like yet another case of scientific fraud by scientists who have strong interests in the continuation of the GM enterprise. We are no longer surprised........... and we support the call by Testbiotech for the paper to be retracted.
This is the paper under the spotlight:
Zeljenková, D., et al (2014) Ninetyday oral toxicity studies on two genetically modified maize MON810 varieties in Wistar Han RCC rats (EU 7th Framework Programme projectGRACE), Arch Toxicol., DOI 10.1007/s00204-014-1374-8
TESTBIOTECH Background 7 - 11 - 2014
Comments regarding the GRACE publication Ninety-day oral toxicity studies on two genetically modified maize MON810 varieties in Wistar Han RCC rats (EU 7th Framework Programme project GRACE)
by Andreas Bauer-Panskus & Christoph Then
The results of a 90-day feeding study with genetically engineered maize MON810 that was part of the EU research project GRACE were published in October 2014. The results of this project are expected to have a significant impact on future standards in risk assessment of genetically engineered plants in the EU. The authors conclude that the diet did not trigger any toxicologically relevant effects in the rats.
However, this conclusion is not based on a sufficiently thorough assessment of the data that was obtained. In particular, it is unacceptable to dismiss the decrease in the total serum protein concentration and pancreas weight and the increase in blood glucose levels as toxicologically irrelevant. In terms of determining a dose with no toxic effects (no-effect level) the study by Zeljenková et al. (2014) must be considered invalid.
In addition, there are serious doubts about the scientific integrity regarding the entire publication process. It appears to be based on close affiliations between the corresponding author and the specialist journal, Archives of Toxicology and its editors. There is a long history of collaboration between the journal and industry, and a clear lack of declaration of conflicts of interest.
Given the importance of this study, the retraction of the paper is recommended. Re-publication should only be considered under a rigorous peer review process, and in a journal that is not influenced by any affiliations to the authors, and demonstrably has a history of the highest standards and integrity regarding conflicts of interest.
There are a number of reasons that put into question the results and the scientific standards of the publication Ninety-day oral toxicity studies on two genetically modified maize MON810 varieties in Wistar Han RCC rats (EU 7th Framework Programme project GRACE).
The decrease of the total serum protein concentration and pancreas weight and the increase in blood glucose levels cannot be considered toxicologically irrelevant. In terms of determining a dose with no toxic effects (no-observed-effect level) the study by Zeljenkova et al. (2014) must be considered invalid.
The conflicts of interest of several authors of the GRACE study are either not addressed at all or only partly.
There are several long term relations between the study's corresponding author, Pablo Steinberg, and members of the editorial board of Archives of Toxicology. Furthermore, Pablo Steinberg is even a member of the journal's editorial board himself. Altogether, publishing the GRACE study in the journal Archives of Toxicology gives the strong impression of 'self-publishing' in the sense that there was a lack of external control.
Whereas Archives of Toxicology is a renowned journal in the field of toxicology, analysis shows that the journal has to be regarded as highly biased towards industry. The current main editors, Jan Hengstler and Hermann Bolt, both from the Leibniz Research Centre for Working Environment and Human Factors, have current or past ties to industry. Hermann Bolt even conducted research financed by the tobacco industry, and the journal has a long history of involvement with the tobacco industry. Several other members (apart from the two main editors) of the editorial board of Archives of Toxicology also have strong industry affiliations.
In conclusion, there are serious doubts about the outcomes as presented in the paper Ninety-day oral toxicity studies on two genetically modified maize MON810 varieties in Wistar Han RCC rats (EU 7th Framework Programme project GRACE). In fact, our conclusion based on the study data, is that even the low dose cannot be considered free from MON 810-related effects. In addition, there are serious doubts about the scientific integrity regarding the entire publication process.
Given the importance of this study, we recommend the retraction of the paper. Re-publication should only be considered under a rigorous peer review process and in a journal with a scientific reputation not tarnished by questionable cooperation with industry, and which is not impacted by any affiliations to the authors and has the highest standards regarding conflicts of interest.