Scientist sues publishing group and university over threat to retract Golden Rice study

A scientist claims in court that the American Society for Nutrition will defame her if it follows through on its plan to retract an article on vitamin A-enhanced Golden Rice, which was published in its journal. Guangwen Tang sued the American Society for Nutrition and Tufts University, on July 9 in Middlesex County Court.

The retraction was scheduled for July 11, but the article was still available online on Tuesday, July 15. Tang claims the retraction will damage her professional reputation. She seeks an injunction and damages for defamation, breach of contract and interference with business relations.

In 2003, Tang received a multi-year research grant from the National Institute of Health for more than $1 million to study genetically modified “golden rice.” “Under the NIH grant, Dr. Tang proposed to study golden rice, which is rice that has been genetically engineered to produce and accumulate ß-carotene, a precursor to vitamin A,” the complaint states.

The research included a field trial that Tang carried out in China’s Hunan province in 2008, according to the lawsuit. Tang says Tufts University and its institutional review board, which includes university faculty and staff and at least one community member, approved the research and field trial protocols for the golden rice study. After completing the research, Tang wrote a scientific article titled “ß-carotene in Golden Rice is as good as p-carotene in oil at providing vitamin A to children.” The American Society for Nutrition published the article in its journal in 2012.

Related article:  Asian Agrobiotechnology Slowed By Private-Public Sector Tensions And NGO Activism

After the study was published, anti-biotech campaigners at Greenpeace China accused Tang’s research team of feeding children a “potentially dangerous product” without telling their parents exactly what the children were eating.

The university last year suspended Tang’s human-subject research “pending further analysis,” according to the lawsuit. Although it found no evidence of research misconduct with respect to the study, and no health or safety problems, the university told Tang she would be subject to disciplinary actions regarding future research, she claims in the complaint.

Read the full, original article: Scientist Says a Retraction Would Defame Her

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