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Author Topic: Negative Studies that pass Peer-Review and Criticism
BuckarooSa-
murai
Segregating Population
Posts: 33
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Post Negative Studies that pass Peer-Review and Criticism
on: January 10, 2013, 04:57
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So I'm interested in evidenced based data on negative GMO studies and criticism. I'm definitely a proponent of the technology but as laymen issues like Monsanto's use of Roundup Ready crops in that as the weeds become more resistant their solution is to make the plants more resistant to roundup as well enabling further pesticide use are a real concern and legitimate complaint about how some organizations use GMO.

I'm just looking for good peer-reviewed criticisms of GMO that have managed that have passed critical muster from the scientific community. Organizations like CRIIGEN and people like Jeff Smith and Seralini seem to be too ideologically driven and in some cases are either pseudoscientists like the president of CRIIGEN or practitioners in dubious organizations like the Maharishi institute of technology like Jeffery Smith.

There is a group of redditors that are trying to create a decent subreddit of solid facts about GMO entitled r/GMOFacts one of who is also trying to create a wiki.

Thanks for any assistance I would really appreciate it.

P.S. - Keep up the great work I use you guys as a great source for responding to Anti-gmo rhetoric.

-Justin

MaryM
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Posts: 436
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Post Re: Negative Studies that pass Peer-Review and Criticism
on: January 10, 2013, 08:57
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Off the top of my head I think the work by Tabashnik might be what you might be looking for. He was the first one to identify Bt resistance--in 1994--pre-GMO, based on conventional use, that I am aware of:
Evolution of Resistance to Bacillus Thuringiensis
Annual Review of Entomology
Vol. 39: 47-79 (Volume publication date January 1994)
DOI: 10.1146/annurev.en.39.010194.000403

And last year he had the paper about the need for increasing buffer/refuge areas. I don't think there was disagreement with that. Scientists Recommend Larger Refuges for Bt Corn.

That said, it doesn't mean that some people didn't have some disagreement on details potentially. But that there was not Seralini-class drama. And some people use that sort of thing to holler for a ban, when he's not saying ban but use carefully, like any tool.

Another one you might consider is the Benbrook work. That was subject to criticism but in a different way than the Seralini stuff. Nobody was hollering for a retraction, but the analysis was critiqued for a lot of good reasons such as cherry-picking and curious statistical choices. The best response to that I saw was: Do genetically engineered crops really increase herbicide use?

I would say the most frustrating part of these kinds of discussions, though, is that the issues are not unique to GMOs. Misuse of any technique or technology or strategy can have consequences, and almost all of the issues people blame on GMOs could come from conventional analogs.

Bill Price
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Posts: 267
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Post Re: Negative Studies that pass Peer-Review and Criticism
on: January 10, 2013, 11:11
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There's the Brazil nut in soybean allergy work: http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJM199603143341103. It was noted before it was released. As the Academics Review of Smith's Genetic Roulette notes, it should be referred to as a success story.

Because GM products are scrutinized so heavily before release, it is rare that adverse effects are found. This is noted with some other examples in the excellent reference Mary recently passed my way: http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=10977&page=46

MaryM
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Post Re: Negative Studies that pass Peer-Review and Criticism
on: January 10, 2013, 11:39
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This is another work that some people use as a GMO negative, and I remember the shouting when it came out:
GM crop use makes minor pests major problem

However, I never understood why. What it showed: that if you don't dump broad-spectrum pesticides on fields, then non-target insects survive. Um, yeah--that's quite the point, really.

But the same thing could happen with any pesticide, again--this is not a GMO unique issue.

BuckarooSa-
murai
Segregating Population
Posts: 33
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Post Re: Negative Studies that pass Peer-Review and Criticism
on: January 10, 2013, 13:30
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Thanks for the responses. So far it seems like the most negative issue facing GMO is Monsanto and other chemical companies poor use of the technology in regards to focusing on pesticide resistance. It also seems like many people want to conflate Monsanto with GMO and the fact they are one of the largest producers of GMO products, people believe GMO is toxic.

From what I've read Monsanto has been guilty of pollution issues and contamination issues in regards to roundup and their GMO usage seems to be targeted at little more than increasing the demand for roundup. Or am I understanding things wrong.

Another issue that I saw Anastasia bring up and it was actually brought up by Seralini and she admits its a good point is that Assessments are only as good as they data they are based on, and if most of that data comes from sources like Monsanto I'd have to admit that seems like a major conflict of interest.

Again thanks for the help. If you guys know of any other good criticisms of GMO or any really good new papers on emergent strains or technology head over to the r/GMOFacts subreddit at reddit.com and submit a link. It would be very helpful.

Bill Price
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Posts: 267
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Post Re: Negative Studies that pass Peer-Review and Criticism
on: January 10, 2013, 14:53
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I'm not sure on the pollution/contamination issue if you mean directly through its manufacture. Complaints of this type regarding its use in the field abound, although its long history of relative safety for people, animals, and environment tend to negate these claims. M. Lynas on Twitter recently pointed to a reference on this: http://www.glyphosate.eu/glyphosate-safety-profile-human-health. The claim of increasing RoundUp demand is baseless because I believe glyphosate is now off patent and other companies are producing and selling it. Also note, the elimination of GMOs would not, by any means, eliminate herbicide tolerant crops. They can be and are developed by other means. See, for example, BASF Clearfield Production Systems http://agproducts.basf.us/products/clearfield-portfolio-landing-page.html which were developed through chemical mutagen techniques (considered as a "Traditional Breeding" method).

Scrutiny of safety assessments is a good idea and review of protocols may be necessary. <mini rant> The current set of assessment criteria are used extensively by Seralini and his supporters as an excuse for his experimental protocols, e.g. we did it this way because everyone else (read Monsanto) does it this way and if ours is bad, so are theirs. That may be true, but it doesn't get around the fact that crap is crap. And if he knew that to begin with, he should have striven to improve upon it. </mini rant> Whatever the outcome of regulatory revision, however, I would hope that a means for reducing the costs of approval are addressed. Many applications of GM or even potential applications are cut short because funding and financial justifications are not there due to the high costs of approval.

MaryM
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Post Re: Negative Studies that pass Peer-Review and Criticism
on: January 10, 2013, 15:56
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Quote from BuckarooSamurai on January 10, 2013, 13:30
....Another issue that I saw Anastasia bring up and it was actually brought up by Seralini and she admits its a good point is that Assessments are only as good as they data they are based on, and if most of that data comes from sources like Monsanto I'd have to admit that seems like a major conflict of interest....

I think all of us are in favor of good data and good design. And I have no problem with looking at whether the designs are right. However, this could become an excuse for some people to demand 20 year rat studies, well exceeding the lifetime of any rat and the budget of any research group. I am willing to bet a $10 donation to Greenpeace that anti-GMOers and scientists would be unlikely to agree on a suitable and reasonable protocol-to-end-all-protocols.

There are independent sources of studies as well. See the Genera list for those.

But even with the existing designs, there is still no evidence that there are any issues with the current products. Many generations of lab animals around the world have eaten GMO feed. Many generations of farm animals have as well. Pets are eating this as well. Claims of a few (undocumented and anecdotal) issues are out there--but if there were legitimate issues, all biomedical research would have come to a halt already, and everyone would be vegetarian because no farm animals would be breeding if we believed the claims that are thrown around.

Bill Price
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Posts: 267
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Post Re: Negative Studies that pass Peer-Review and Criticism
on: January 10, 2013, 16:09
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There's always the great Monsanto Cucumber hoax picked up by many a radio jock and blogger: http://wgrd.com/cucumbers-cause-pubic-baldness/
A Google of "GMO cucumber" brings up several amusing links now ...

BuckarooSa-
murai
Segregating Population
Posts: 33
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Post Re: Negative Studies that pass Peer-Review and Criticism
on: January 11, 2013, 16:40
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Quote from MaryM on January 10, 2013, 15:56
I think all of us are in favor of good data and good design. And I have no problem with looking at whether the designs are right. However, this could become an excuse for some people to demand 20 year rat studies, well exceeding the lifetime of any rat and the budget of any research group. I am willing to bet a $10 donation to Greenpeace that anti-GMOers and scientists would be unlikely to agree on a suitable and reasonable protocol-to-end-all-protocols.

I'm sure you guys are aware as well but Scientific American actually pointed out that Seralini's claims that he followed the same protocols is a little bit disingenuous as yes he used the same rats but there is a specific reason those rats are used in 90 day studies and he ignored the recommendation of the Sprague-Dawley suppliers. Here is the quote from the article http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=hyped-genetically-modified-maize-study-faces-growing-scrutiny

>"The biggest criticism from both reviews is that Séralini and his team used only ten rats of each sex in their treatment groups. That is a similar number of rats per group to that used in most previous toxicity tests of GM foods, including Missouri-based Monsanto’s own tests of NK603 maize. Such regulatory tests monitor rats for 90 days, and guidelines from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) state that ten rats of each sex per group over that time span is sufficient because the rats are relatively young. But Séralini’s study was over two years — almost a rat’s lifespan — and for tests of this duration, the OECD recommends at least 20 rats of each sex per group for chemical-toxicity studies, and at least 50 for carcinogenicity studies."

>"Moreover, the study used Sprague-Dawley rats, which both reviews note are prone to developing spontaneous tumours. Data provided to Nature by Harlan Laboratories, which supplied the rats in the study, show that only one-third of males, and less than one-half of females, live to 104 weeks. By comparison, its Han Wistar rats have greater than 70% survival at 104 weeks, and fewer tumours. OECD guidelines state that for two-year experiments, rats should have a survival rate of at least 50% at 104 weeks. If they do not, each treatment group should include even more animals — 65 or more of each sex."

So I'm sure you have heard or read John Vandermeer's response to Lynas's talk and he makes a statement about Glyphosate saying there is evidence that it causes endocrine disruption. Doing a search in google scholar I found Seralini authored many of those papers which doesn't descredit them outright but makes me highly skeptical. On the other hand I found some that did not have Seralini as an author and seemed interesting:

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1897/03-71/abstract;jsessionid=C30E9F97E4C084D654F18692F257143A.d02t04?deniedAccessCustomisedMessage=&userIsAuthenticated=false

http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs00204-006-0170-5?LI=true (Although I note that Springer is a pay for play "peer-review" journal that has published 9/11 conspiracy theory papers.)

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17984146 this one I'm less sure on as I can only see the abstract and couldn't see the results.

http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs00204-011-0788-9?LI=true

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0048357508001399

While most of the negative effects seem to mostly be centered around amphibians this does seem to be a concerning environmental aspect to the use of glyphosate. I note that it has little to do with GMO and more to do with herbicide and pesticide use which organics use as well, however as Monsanto seems determined to continue down the Roundup Ready crop path it does seem like a potential for problems. I know that a few studies don't overturn the massive amount showing safety but if the data is good shouldn't they be explored at the very least. However as layman its hard for me to evaluate the veracity and strength of these studies, as some are behind paywalls, and I don't have the technical expertise to understand them. Some insight would be great.

Kathy with-
a K
Wild Accession
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Post Re: Negative Studies that pass Peer-Review and Criticism
on: April 30, 2013, 09:41
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Has anyone tackled EarthOpen Source's "GMO Myths and Truths"? Of course, it's completely one-sided but starting on page 60, they give list LOTS of sources for GMO's causing health-related issues.

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