Plurality of opinion, scientific discourse and pseudoscience: an in depth analysis of the Séralini et al. study claiming that Roundup™ Ready corn or the herbicide Roundup™ cause cancer in rats

Abstract

A recent paper published in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology presents the results of a long-term toxicity study related to a widely-used commercial herbicide (Roundup™) and a Roundup-tolerant genetically modified variety of maize, concluding that both the herbicide and the maize varieties are toxic. Here we discuss the many errors and inaccuracies in the published article resulting in highly misleading conclusions, whose publication in the scientific literature and in the wider media has caused damage to the credibility of science and researchers in the field. We and many others have criticized the study, and in particular the manner in which the experiments were planned, implemented, analyzed, interpreted and communicated. The study appeared to sweep aside all known benchmarks of scientific good practice and, more importantly, to ignore the minimal standards of scientific and ethical conduct in particular concerning the humane treatment of experimental animals.

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Acknowledgments

Research at the Universitat de Lleida is supported by MICINN, Spain (BFU2007-61413; BIO2011-23324; BIO02011-22525; PIM2010PKB-00746); European Union Framework 7 Program-SmartCell Integrated Project 222716; European Union Framework 7 European Research Council IDEAS Advanced Grant (to PC) Program-BIOFORCE; COST Action FA0804: Molecular farming: plants as a production platform for high value proteins; Centre CONSOLIDER on Agrigenomics funded by MICINN, Spain. Authors declare that their funding is exclusively from public bodies.

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Correspondence to Paul Christou.

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Arjó, G., Portero, M., Piñol, C. et al. Plurality of opinion, scientific discourse and pseudoscience: an in depth analysis of the Séralini et al. study claiming that Roundup™ Ready corn or the herbicide Roundup™ cause cancer in rats. Transgenic Res 22, 255–267 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11248-013-9692-9

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Keywords

  • Safety assessment
  • GM crops
  • Toxicity
  • GM maize