Controversial Seralini GMO-rats paper to be retracted
A heavily criticised rat study that linked Monsanto’s genetically modified maize and the herbicide Roundup to increased cancer risks is set to be withdrawn by the journal that published it.
The research first hit the headlines last year when Gilles Seralini his colleagues published their findings in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology.
The study, along with graphic images of tumour ridden rats released by the authors, attainted glob al media coverage with suggestions that long term exposure to even relatively low levels of Monsanto’s herbicide Roundup and the genetically modified NK603 resistant maize crop could result in a ‘greatly increased risk of tumours’ and premature death.
Now, however, Wallace Hayes the editor of Food and Chemical Toxicology has sent Seralini a letter saying that the paper will be retracted if he does not agree to withdraw it.
In a letter to Dr Seralini dated the 19th November, Hayes asserts that the journal board had completed a ‘thorough examination’ of the data provided to them by the researcher and had expressed many concerns about the quality of the data, and ultimately recommended that the article should be withdrawn.
Commenting on the decision to withdraw the study, Professor Cathie Martin, Group Leader at the John Innes Centre, UK said that the major flaws in the paper make its retraction the right thing to do. While David Spiegelhalter, Winton Professor of the Public Understanding of Risk at the University of Cambridge, said: “It was clear from even a superficial reading that this paper was not fit for publication, and in this instance the peer-review process did not work properly.”
“At least this has now been remedied and the journal has recognised that no conclusions can be drawn from this study, so I suppose it is better late than never,” he added. “Sadly the withdrawal of this paper will not generate the publicity garnered by its initial publication.”
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