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EFSA-approved GMO cause hepatoreneal toxicity

  1. Jan 28, 2010 #1
    Here I found a scientific article in the International Journal of Biological Sciences concerning a study on rodents fed with genetically modified organisms. Two of the GMOs, MON 863 and NK603, are approved by the European Food Safety Authority. Here are the links:
    http://www.gmo-compass.org/pdf/regulation/maize/MON863xNK603_maize_opinion_efsa.pdf [Broken]

    Since I am not an expert I would like some help understanding the experiments and conclusions reached in the scientific article, where it states that MON 863 and NK603 GMO can cause problems in rodents, especially in kidney and liver organs. Does this mean that the EFSA should re-examine the health risk involved in humans and other mammals ? Thanks for your opinions.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 28, 2010 #2
    There is a huge difference between worth publishing and worth worrying about. The one paper I looked at may be in the first group, but it is not in the second. I'm a statistician not a biologist, so I looked mostly at the statistics. The first report repeats a very common, I won't call it a mistake but a practice by non-statisticians. Statisticians know that the power of a test only applies when your experimental design agrees with the assumptions of the power analysis. In this case, the researchers recorded lots of data, and their analysis shows that about 5% of their measurements are significant at the 5% level. Oops! From a statistical standpoint, that means you need to create a formal hypothesis, and collect new data to accept or refute that hypothesis.

    In theory the authors of the first study can leave that to others to do. In practice, there is little here worth worrying about. If you feed rats different diets, and the chemicals in their urine are different, should you be surprised? I'm not.

    The differences based on sex could be significant, but when you look at the experimental design, they didn't insure that male rats had identical eating habits to the female rats. That is one thing I would want to check in any follow-up tests. Are males and females eating the same proportions of the ingredients of their food mix? Are they eating at the same time relative to the lab tests? If males and females eat at different times of day, you may be back to the starting point.
  4. Jan 28, 2010 #3
    Thanks a lot eachus, you gave me nice examples and really helped me grasp what I should be looking for in such published materials. I will take a look again at the article.
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