Republished Seralini GM corn toxicity study now ‘infamous’ for poor quality

The strange odyssey of the paper, Long term toxicity of a Roundup herbicide and a Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize, by Seralini et. al., just got stranger.

The paper was published in 2012 in Food and Chemical Toxicity. It was greeted with intense criticism from the scientific community for its many shortcomings, culminating in the journal retracting the study. Now the study has been republished by a new open access journal, Environmental Sciences Europe. The paper was not re-peer-reviewed, despite Seralini’s claim. It was just republished, with the addition of more raw data and commentary by Seralini.

The Seralini GMO rat study is now infamous for its poor quality and overstated conclusions. The republication of the paper extends the saga, but does nothing to correct the many failings of the study.

There is a further problem with publishing preliminary or exploratory research. Such studies are meant only as an indicator of future confirmatory research, not as a basis of conclusions or recommendations. However, preliminary research is often treated by the press, and therefore the public (and often encouraged by authors overstating their data) as if it were confirmatory.

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This problem is exacerbated when the topic is controversial, like GMO. I would argue that the threshold for publication should be higher for controversial topics, otherwise unreliable data is likely to confuse the public discourse.

Related article:  The story behind Séralini's disappearing GMOs-are-toxic study, and the journal that published it

Still, scientists need preliminary data to guide later research. The compromise I have suggested is that preliminary research be published with an editorial warning label – this is preliminary research meant only for professionals to guide later research and should not be used as a basis for recommendations, policy, or scientific conclusions. Publishing this study is not a statement by the editors that the results are likely to be true.

Read the full, original article: Seralini GMO Study Republished

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