French scientists slam GMO corn study

Oct. 19, 2012 at 4:34 PM

PARIS, Oct. 19 (UPI) -- A controversial study that had linked genetically modified corn to cancer in lab rats is a scientific non-event, six French scientific academies said Friday.

"This work does not enable any reliable conclusion to be drawn," the joint statement of the national academies of agriculture, medicine, pharmacy, science, technology and veterinary studies said, adding publicity surrounding the publication had "spread fear among the public."

Such a joint statement is an extremely rare event in French science, Radio France Internationale reported.

The statement was prompted by a paper released in September that said rats fed genetically modified corn developed by U.S. chemical giant Monsanto or given doses of Monsanto's Roundup herbicide developed tumors.

Critics accused the author of the paper, Gilles-Eric Seralini of the University of Caen, of using the media to increase the impact of his study and have alleged statistical bias in his experiments.

"Given the numerous gaps in methods and interpretation, the data presented in this article cannot challenge previous studies which have concluded that [Monsanto's] corn is harmless from the health point of view, as are, more generally, genetically modified plants that have been authorized for consumption by animals and humans," the academies' statement said.

Two official investigations into the study are to be unveiled next Monday.

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