Critics of genetically modified crops often assert that all research into the plants’ safety is bought and paid for by industry. Not so, according to a newly compiled database of biotech crop research.
Independently funded, peer-reviewed research into GM crops “is common, conducted worldwide, and makes up half of the total research on risk associated with genetic engineering,” say the team behind the database.
The database was compiled by not-for-profit group Biology Fortified, which was set up in 2008 by plant geneticists Karl Haro von Mogel and Anastasia Bodnar, now both public sector scientists.
Biology Fortified board member David Tribe of the University of Melbourne collected more than 200 hundred safety-related studies on his website. Haro von Mogel and Bodnar gathered more than 100 independently funded studies to add to the list.
It quickly became apparent, however, that a few hundred citations would not be sufficiently useful or persuasive – and so work on the large searchable database, known as GENERA (for Genetic Engineering Risk Atlas), began.
So far released as a test version, GENERA includes 400 randomly chosen studies from the 1,200 studies of GM foods collected, covering topics from the productivity of GM plants to the safety of eating GM produce. These 400 have been read and categorised by a team of volunteers led by Haro von Mogel over the last two years.
The project received a $10,000 grant from the American Society of Plant Biologists in 2012. It received a further shot in the arm late last year, when Alessandro Nicolia of the University of Perugia completed a massive literature review on biotech crop safety research.
“We’ve made it really easy for people to find the information they are looking for,” says Bodnar.
Read the full, original article: GM food is safe according to independent studies