NOTE: Six French scientific academies have released a joint statement dismissing the Seralini study as a "scientific non-event."
However, it has immediately drawn a rejoinder from the renowned French statistician Paul Deheuvels, himself a prominent member of the Academy of Sciences. Deheuvels points out that far from representing the six academies in their entirety, the joint statement came from just 12 academicians who were convened at short notice and selected in a totally untransparent way.
We will be posting a translation of the full Deheuvels article, but one other important point to note is that Deheuvels says he wasn't consulted about the Seralini study "even though he is the only member of the Academy of Sciences representing the discipline of statistics", and so, in the normal way of things, would be consulted on a case like this.
Although the statement has been issued in the names of the national academies of agriculture, medicine, pharmacy, science, technology, and veterinary studies, it is unsigned, and an obvious question is why the statement has been rushed out when, according to the article below, the statement "admits that no 'in-depth evaluation' has been carried out yet."
In fact, the academies' statement uses the same superficial attacks on Seralini's study that have been debunked previously. For instance, its authors appear unaware that the same type of rat that Seralini used in his study is commonly used in other long term chronic toxicity and carcinogenicity studies by industry and others.
And the authors cite carcinogenicity studies on glyphosate, Roundup's main chemical ingredient, with the implication that they counter Seralini's findings on the tumorigenic effects of Roundup. This in spite of the fact that Seralini's team have shown in previous studies that formulations such as Roundup are more toxic than glyphosate alone, ashaveother studies.
If such superficial attacks seem extraordinary, then it's worth remembering that key sections of a landmark report promoting GM crops that was issued by six of India's academies of science were shown to have been plagiarized from a pro-GM article produced by a biotech industry backed lobby.
Hatchet jobs by prestigious science bodies trying to undermine inconvenient GM research are also not unknown. Witness the scandalously partisan and inaccurate attacks on the research of Dr Arpad Pusztai by the UK's Royal Society.
Overall, this "opinion" of the academies is as suspect as that of the European Food Safety Authority's kangaroo court, which issued a similar condemnation of Seralini's study with the participation of very few member states.
French academies trash GM corn cancer study
RFI, 19 October 2012
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.