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SkinWalker
Post  Post subject: Study linking GM maize to rat tumours is retracted  |  Posted: Sat Nov 30, 2013 11:03 pm
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http://www.nature.com/news/study-linkin ... ed-1.14268

This is that flawed study that GMO fearmongers constantly refer to that used the tumor-prone Sprague-Dawley rats to show that GMO maize was bad for human consumption. The paper has been relentlessly criticized since it was released, often ridiculed by those that understand the science -but the publisher finally caved to the pressures of the overwhelming majority of the scientific community and retracted the paper published in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology. And this was despite the objections of Gilles-Eric Séralini, the lead author of the study.

I think I have mixed feelings about it being withdrawn. On the one hand, it was clearly bad science and withdrawing the paper sends that message. But should bad science be withdrawn from a journal? Hell, this wasn't even possible until the digital age. That's where I'm at with the other hand: was this bad science or pseudoscience?

Did the authors simply conduct a poorly designed experiment (one they still stand behind, by the way), or did (do) they know full well that there were flaws and chose to overlook them?

It's one thing to withdraw or retract a paper that was about a study that used fabricated data or was misleading in some way. But if a paper is poor science, shouldn't that researcher's peers be the ones to rake him/her over the coals (which is precisely what happened)?

It seems to me that the editorial and referee process for that publisher is what should really be looked at. Referees and reviewers should be the ones to catch the problems and make recommendations to the editor regarding publication. If that didn't happen, I'd wonder why. Did the editor not pick knowledgeable or unbiased (as much as is possible) refs?

Still, I like the blow it sends to GMO fearmongers.


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marnixR
Post  Post subject: Re: Study linking GM maize to rat tumours is retracted  |  Posted: Sun Dec 01, 2013 3:16 pm
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do you really think it will make a difference ? remember, we're talking about the type of person here whose motto is "i've made up my mind, don't confuse me with the facts"

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bunbury
Post  Post subject: Re: Study linking GM maize to rat tumours is retracted  |  Posted: Mon Dec 02, 2013 8:05 pm
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GMO fearmongers may be the type of person whose motto is i've made up my mind, don't confuse me with the facts. I wouldn't know. However, I do know that members of the public who are open-minded nevertheless consider the precautionary principle to be a good way to approach rapidly changing knowledge about the world.

Among this group I include people who, as non-experts, have studied climate change and concluded that the evidence for a large anthropogenic contribution is strong enough to justify taking mitigatory action. In the case of GM foods proponents are good at producing evidence that supports their corporate profits. Corporate sponsored research is aimed at proving a negative, that GM foods are not harmful (either to the people who eat them or to the broader environment) and as we know proving a negative is hard. The opponents meanwhile are left to look for the black swan. Seems to me both the limited volume of evidence and the source of it suggest we should proceed with caution.


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marnixR
Post  Post subject: Re: Study linking GM maize to rat tumours is retracted  |  Posted: Mon Dec 02, 2013 8:09 pm
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the question is : at what stage does absence of evidence become evidence of absence ?

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bunbury
Post  Post subject: Re: Study linking GM maize to rat tumours is retracted  |  Posted: Mon Dec 02, 2013 8:12 pm
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The precautionary principle suggests we are not there yet.


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marnixR
Post  Post subject: Re: Study linking GM maize to rat tumours is retracted  |  Posted: Mon Dec 02, 2013 8:19 pm
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how long do you want to give it ? remember there's already been a semi-controlled experiment with the US embracing GM foods and the EU severely restricting them, and the result is that there's no obvious differneces between either groups

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bunbury
Post  Post subject: Re: Study linking GM maize to rat tumours is retracted  |  Posted: Tue Dec 03, 2013 6:22 pm
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Well Europe gets better math scores in schools :P

Here's something Richard Dawkins wrote. He might possibly have greater intellectual heft than I, and has certainly had more time to review the facts:

Quote:
I am undecided about the politics of GM foods, torn between the potential benefits to agriculture on the one hand and precautionary instincts on the other. {snip stuff about the American grey squirrel invasive in Britain} It is interesting to wonder whether taxonomists of the future may regret the way our generation messed around with genomes. {snip stuff about tomatoes, potatoes, jellyfish and an artist} The whole point of the precautionary principle after all is to avoid future repercussions of choices that may not be obviously dangerous now.


The Greatest Show on Earth, page 304.


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marnixR
Post  Post subject: Re: Study linking GM maize to rat tumours is retracted  |  Posted: Tue Dec 03, 2013 9:02 pm
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still, the question remains : how long can you maintain the precautionary principle before it becomes downright silly ? if you remain afraid without an obvious sign of danger, aren't you fighting shadows ?

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bunbury
Post  Post subject: Re: Study linking GM maize to rat tumours is retracted  |  Posted: Tue Dec 03, 2013 9:42 pm
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It's a question of risk versus reward in which the risks are belittled by propaganda from well funded groups that stand to make profit at least in the near term, while the rewards are emphasized. The arguments in the public arena are one sided partly because the money is all on one side.

How long should we wait for the opponents to come up with an identifiable problem? I don't know. We never act until it's too late anyway, so I suppose we will forge ahead and perhaps nothing bad will happen, or something will happen and we say if only we had gone a bit slower on this we might not be in this pickle.


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paleoichneum
Post  Post subject: Re: Study linking GM maize to rat tumours is retracted  |  Posted: Wed Dec 30, 2015 8:33 pm
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id still be interested in a suggested timeline for the asserted need for caution, and is that caution uniform or based on the individual genomic edits?

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