Anti-GMO activists promote flawed paper claiming GMO soy accumulates formaldehyde

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion and analysis.

Scientists occasionally “go rogue,” forsake the scientific method—often for notoriety or economic gain–and opt instead to promulgate propaganda to a public that lacks expertise but is hungry for information.

A recent example is Dr. (of bioengineering) V.A. Shiva Ayyadurai, who (with coauthor Prabhakar Deonikar) recently published a widely criticized article, “Do GMOs Accumulate Formaldehyde and Disrupt Molecular Systems Equilibria? Systems Biology May Provide Answers.”

Although the article supposedly passed the peer-review process, non-scientists may not realize that it appeared in a “pay-for-play” journal, “Agricultural Sciences,” which is produced by a “predatory” publisher.

Within days of publication, anti-biotechnology organizations such as the Organic Consumers Association and GMO Inside were touting the paper, with sensational headlines such as “Formaldehyde in GMO Soy?” and “New Study Shows GMO Soy Accumulates Cancer Causing Chemical Formaldehyde,” accompanied by alarmist graphics.

The very title of the paper tells you that something isn’t right: If you think that genetically engineered organisms might “accumulate formaldehyde,” a chemical that is probably carcinogenic at high levels but is present in most living cells, the obvious thing to do is measure its levels—not merely to make guesses based on modeling using “systems biology.”

Related article:  Viewpoint: Why organic farming activists oppose New Breeding Techniques (NBTs)

Though the scientific community has taken Ayyadurai and his methods to task, much of the damage to public understanding has been done. The scare memes and articles spread quickly across social media platforms, one article going so far as to claim that mothers are poisoning their children.

According to Ayyadurai (who also claims to have invented email), “The biologists that are approaching this have no knowledge of modern biology.”

But the truth is forthcoming. And it will be in the form of data. Experimental data.

Read full, original post: A New, Bizarre Activist Scam: Formaldehyde In GMO Soybeans

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