Biotech Updates

Methodological Flaws Found in Studies Reporting Adverse Effects of GM Crops

August 2, 2017

Scientists Miguel Sanchez of ChileBio and Wayne Parrott of the University of Georgia released an article on their review of research papers that are usually used as evidence of negative effects of GM food and feed. Their review article is published in the Plant Biotechnology Journal

A total of 35 articles were evaluated. These articles are often cited by biotech critics to emphasize the adverse effects of GM crops. Studies not published in scientific journals as well as those reports evaluating only immunogenicity of pure proteins, instead of whole food or GM crops studies, were not included in the evaluation. Most of the articles assessed (43%) were about the effects of herbicide tolerant soybean event 40-3-2. Insect resistant maize MON810 was covered by 23%, while 9% tackled non-commercial events. Seven studies (20%) did not disclose which particular GM crop was used, making it impossible to replicate the experiments. Eleven out of 35 studies were authored by the Malatesta group at the University of Urbino and University of Verona in Italy. 

The evaluation of research articles showed that the studies were conducted in just a few laboratories and published in less popular journals. Methodological flaws were also found in the papers, such as failure to disclose important details in the experiment and actual measurement of results, which invalidate the conclusions of the study.

Read the review article in Plant Biotechnology Journal.