segunda-feira, 22 de abril de 2013

Repeating Séralini´s experiment

Scientists should repeat the controversial experiment described by Séralini and his colleagues late last year. This is a frequently heard requirement from the “greens” and other organizations and individuals aligned to the same ideology of Séralini and his like-minded.

The answer looks easy, but it is not. In theory, any research laboratory in the world interested in the quest for food safety could engage in the adventure. The problem is that experiments are conducted according to a methodological guideline and should aim to prove a hypothesis. Indeed, the vast majority of scientists does not agree with the methodological design of Séralini´s paper and does not envisage a mechanism by which the EPSPS protein or glyphosate could lead to such spectacular phenomena as the tumors described by the French author. Similarly, the agencies that could fund these studies are far from been convinced that the methodology is consistent and the underlying causative hypothesis linking the GM maize and glyphosate to the tumors observed in the rats is sound.

So, after all, who could dare to repeat the daunting experiments?
a)      using a strain of rats that spontaneously develops tumors
b)      leaving the animals in the cages until monstrous tumors develop, against all common sense and  animal experimentation ethical guidelines
c)        using a wobbly statistics and
d)      doing all the above without a proper public financial support?

By complying with the constraints above, it is possible to discard most “academic, main trend adhering laboratories” and come to a few candidates: the anti-GMO sympathizers that can align with Seralini´s ideology and methodology and therefore be able to get funded like CRIIGEN, the institute that supported Séralini. Where did the funds come from? From wholesalers of non-GM products (organic and conventional). These partisan scientists are truly independent: they have no connection whatsoever with the agribusiness and no need to prove to their fund suppliers that their methodology is good; they can really duplicate Séralini´s experiments in secrecy (as Séralini did), letting rats suffer and die with spectacular tumors.  However, even by using the same statistics they will never be sure to reach the same "innovative conclusions" of the famous French scientist: his rather controversial results were simply due to statistical fluctuations.

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