How to recognize questionable information about genetically modified organisms

Eugène Atget Wheat Google Art Project
Credit: Eugène Atget, Wikimedia Commons.

The following is an editorial summary. Find a link to the full story below.

Mary Mangan — a genomics scientist with credentials in microbiology, immunology, plant cell biology, and mammalian cell, developmental, and molecular biology (PhD) — offers tips to the lay reader on how to separate the wheat from the chaff in the sea of misinformation about genetically modified organisms. An excerpt:

There’s an astonishing amount of misinformation propagated about GMOs. Most of it is so clearly science fiction and conspiracy theory that it’s just laughable. Sometimes, though, the information comes from what seems like a trustworthy source, such as a scientific journal. Even if it is published in a respectable journal, sometimes the statistics and results do not withstand scrutiny.

Another source of confusion can be the “gray literature“. Gray literature consists of publications such as reports that have generally not gone through the peer-review process that scientific studies generally do. Some gray literature is useful and valuable, and quite neutral. Sometimes, though, there are reports that come out that are definitely not neutral, and represent merely the cherry-picked and distorted views of an industry or activist viewpoint, sometimes both.

Read the full story here: GMO Wheat and shouting “fire” in a crowded theater

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