…for the 4th generation of mice, anyway. Greenpeace is trumpeting a new "study" that finds that mice fed a variety of pest-protected corn have fewer pups in the fourth generation. According to the organization's press release:
A study published today by the Austrian government identified serious health threats of genetically engineered (GE) crops. In one of the very few long-term feeding studies ever conducted with GE crops, the fertility of mice fed with GE maize was found to be severely impaired, with fewer offspring being produced than by mice fed on natural crops. Considering the severity of the potential threat to human health and reproduction, Greenpeace is demanding a recall of all GE food and crops from the market, worldwide.
With typical understatement, the Greenpeace spokesperson said:
"GE food appears to be acting as a birth control agent, potentially leading to infertility—if this is not reason enough to close down the whole biotech industry once and for all, I am not sure what kind of disaster we are waiting for," said Dr. Jan van Aken, GE expert at Greenpeace International. "Playing genetic roulette with our food crops is like playing Russian roulette with consumers and public health".
Just a couple of quick observations: (1) This is classic case of "science by press release." The "study" may be valid, but it has not been "published" nor has it been peer-reviewed; and (2) Greenpeace backed similar controversial claims by other researchers that genetically modified soybeans harmed the fertility of mice that were later debunked. (For more details see also here.)
When other researchers get a look at the study, I'll let H&R readers know what they find.
This just in: the study is now available here.