GMO Food

Another Case of Bad Anti-GMO Research and Fraudulent Data Manipulation?

Preliminary forensic analysis suggests intentional data manipulation

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KillerTomato
Attack of the Killer Tomatoes

The vast majority of the scientific literature finds that modern biotech crops are safe for people and animals to eat and safe for the environment. Nevertheless, a few activist researchers do manage from time to time to get some hapless journal editor to publish one of their dodgy studies that allegedly finds some deleterious effects from consuming foods made with ingredients from genetically modified crops.

One such study by a team of Italian researchers recently reported that goats that had been fed a mixture of biotech corn and soy produced colostrum (first milk) that had lower protein and fat content and lower serum immunoglobulin G (IgG) concentration than milk from similar goats that consumed conventional corn and soy feed. In addition, they claim to have discovered genes from the biotech crops in the milk. The kids whose mothers ate biotech foods were smaller than those whose mothers dined on conventional fare.

Now Nature.com is reporting that an forensic investigation into that study and two others by members of the same research team finds that they "contain intentional data manipulation."

Interestingly, a recent feeding study that cited the Italian report found no such effects in milk from Holstein cows. Another reported that rats fed biotech flax seed did not gain as much weight as those fed conventional chow largely because of digestibility issues arising from increased antioxidant capacity of the biotech seeds. The researchers go on suggest that the specific variety of biotech flax used in the study might actually offer health benefits in humans.

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  1. “Another reported that rats fed biotech flax seed did not gain as much weight as those fed conventional chow”

    Don’t even need an explanation for that one. We have a selling point ladies and gentlemen!

    1. Also, research has shown that harf-starft rats live longer than well fed ones. I think they are also more miserable.

  2. Bailey, the science is settled. GMOs are evil. That’s settled science. Are you a science denier?

    1. He’s obviously a Monsanto slave. Eating too much non-organic Monsanto frankenfood has enabled enough Monsanto chemicals to permeate his brain to control his mind and make him worship Monsanto as the glorious deity that She is, whose goal is to destroy the human race.

  3. A kid’ll eat modified ivy, too.

    1. Good! That’s GOOD!

    2. And shame on me:
      Will mares and does eat GMO oats?

  4. How do people not realize that they will get caught if they do stuff like this? What decade is it? After the “vaccinations cause autism” guy got caught you’d think word would have got around.

    1. How do people not realize that they will get caught if they do stuff like this?

      I suspect its because its quite pervasive, and everyone knows somebody who has gotten away with it, cold.

      See, also, the blatant climate-hysteric fraudsters who still have jobs and are feted around the globe.

      1. There have certainly been some shameless liars in climate science, but many of them have been able to hide behind models, large error bars and consensus. A model can be completely wrong without actually being fraudulent.

        This is just outright falsification of empirical data that goes against the consensus. They should have known they were going to get caught.

    2. also, almost no one reads the actual research (for the most part, it’s really not worth while), accepting instead whatever interpretation is provided by whatever newssource they prefer. So the paper will serve its purpose that way. I remember a woman arguing with me about the third-hand smoke research a while back. I described the actual findings and how the conclusions were unsupported, to which she kept up a mantra of, “That’s not what I read!”, as though having not read the paper but having read DAILY MAIL commentary on it was somehow a rhetorical trumpcard.

    3. also, almost no one reads the actual research (for the most part, it’s really not worth while), accepting instead whatever interpretation is provided by whatever newssource they prefer. So the paper will serve its purpose that way. I remember a woman arguing with me about the third-hand smoke research a while back. I described the actual findings and how the conclusions were unsupported, to which she kept up a mantra of, “That’s not what I read!”, as though having not read the paper but having read DAILY MAIL commentary on it was somehow a rhetorical trumpcard.

  5. “finds that they “contain intentional data manipulation.””

    Like the NYT articles on the Kochs, I wish I found this surprising.

  6. I’ve noticed many of the same (progressive) people lauding things like CRISPR and the ability to create three-parent and same-sex couple babies are the same people who thinksGMOs are some evil conspiracy giving everybody cancer. How they rationalize that directly modifying human genes is somehow less risky than tweaking corn to resist bugs I have no idea.

  7. I’ve noticed many of the same (progressive) people lauding things like CRISPR and the ability to create three-parent and same-sex couple babies are the same people who thinksGMOs are some evil conspiracy giving everybody cancer. How they rationalize that directly modifying human genes is somehow less risky than tweaking corn to resist bugs I have no idea.

    1. They don’t rationalize it. They react emotionally based who is developing the tech and how it is being used. Most people probably react that way, in general, though the underlying emotions may be different.

    2. I pressed my fiance on the point of why she thought genetically modifying food was bad. It boiled down to Monsanto’s abuse of copyrighted genetics.

      This, thus, is one of those issues that I just don’t understand the thinking behind.

      Monsanto makes GMOs and uses copyright law to use their GMOs to claim frivolous lawsuits against farmers near Monsanto farms.

      And people think the obvious solution to that problem should be to ban GMOs, rather than reform copyright law. I don’t understand why they jump to that solution.

      Similar to arguments I hear about immigration. People immigrate here and get welfare benefits, and so people think we should ban the act of immigration rather than reform welfare to make it less prone to abuse (because apparently the US citizens abusing the same system are less concerning).

      It always seems to boil down to people taking one thing that is harmless in and of itself, combining it with a crappy government program to abuse the system, and then people call for banning the harmless thing rather than putting effort into reforming the easily abused system. It almost seems like political laziness, they want to solve the problem with a simple ban rather than comprehensive reforms.

    3. Not to mention the people going “OMG 3-parent mutant babies!”, when they’re no such thing (mitochondrial donor contributed no phenotypical DNA).

      It’s ‘tardery all the way down.

  8. The vast majority of the scientific literature finds that modern biotech crops are safe for people and animals to eat and safe for the environment.

    Just because I like to play Devil’s advocate, how much stock should I take in this statement when I’ve heard from certain quarters that the findings of most published research can’t be trusted?

    1. Confirmation bias is your friend, my friend.

    2. Well gosh, if most published research can’t be replicated, and no one has yet reported not being able to replicate this, I’d say odds are it HAS been replicated. There are plenty of maysayers who’d like to falsify GMO safety.

      See, you answered your own question.

      1. I remember reading how a worry about AGI was that it would render research by humans obsolete, because the computer could run thousands of iterations in the same time a human could do ten.

        If it gets agenda-driven humans out of it, I say bring on the bots.

    3. Because, based on how genes work, it would be unusual for modern biotech crops to be unsafe for people an animals to eat.

      We’ve genetically modified cows, pigs, chickens, cash crops, and countless other food over human history (just usually with very slower processes). Nothing bad has happened so far.

      Yet somehow people think picking and choosing the genes that go into an organism with GREATER PRECISION using science is somehow more dangerous than trying to pick and choose genes through interbreeding, which is a much harder process of getting the genes you want.

      It’s just human mystical mindset towards science combined with fearmongering that gives us any reason to think these modern GMOs are any worse for eating then the countless GMOs we’ve spent all of human history making through basic plant and animal husbandry.

      I’d say trust it because it’s essentially scientific research telling you what logically makes sense to begin with. If an experiment determines that the sky is blue, don’t doubt it.

      1. But this is, like, *handflap* DIFFERENT.

        1. Throughout human history, the narrative has always been that science is scary magic. This will probably never change, unfortunately. The best a scientifically literate person can do is embrace the mentality and enjoy being a wizard.

  9. The nutritional utility (where weight gain is the proxy) of GMO food is beside the alarmist point:
    if eating modified thingies is always bad, they would be bad even if they were nutritionally superior to “natural” foods.

    All day we see the verbal/nurturing types (journalists, teachers, nurses, populists) pushing the “how I feel” narrative; all day I’m facepalming (that’s not how gravity, genetics, macroeconomics works).

    Remember the dumb girls who “explained” in fifth grade lunch their post-coital rituals that would prevent pregnancy? Remember thinking: that won’t work because it has nothing to do with how one gets pregnant? Well, now she’s had four kids and is picketing groceries based on similar myths.

    1. I don’t remember that one.

    2. If the experiments found that the GMO-fed animals GAINED weight, they would have reported it as proof GMO’s lead to obesity or something.

  10. “they claim to have discovered genes from the biotech crops in the milk.”

    People are going to misinterpret the hell out of that statement, which is exactly why it is worded that way in their claims.

  11. I remember in feed research years ago, I’d found some fair evidence of soy or maize being in some ways harmful to mammals if it made up too great a proportion of diet. In my own work, I found a diet mainly of soy to vastly increase the incidence of tumours in Rattus. I imagine if anything is harmful it is these two vegetables, by nature, and not their commonly modified characters. There’s probably some reason the Ancients that consumed these in quantity tended to heavily process the vegetables till they were almost unrecognisable. I have also seen studies unambiguously showing benefits from consuming both. It appears undisputable at this point that every vegetable is to some extent harmful and many are to some extent beneficial.

  12. Yet somehow people think picking and choosing the genes that go into an organism with GREATER PRECISION using science is somehow more dangerous than trying to pick UPS pickup near me and choose genes through interbreeding, which is a much harder process of getting the genes you want.

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