Thu Sep 27, 2012, 03:27 PM
kpete (50,070 posts)
Genetically Modified Corn Causes Cancer in Lab Rats: Higher Levels Of Cancers, Larger Tumors, ...
Rat study sparks GM furore
Cancer claims put herbicide-resistant transgenic maize in the spotlight.
Europe has never been particularly fond of genetically modified (GM) foods, but a startling research paper published last week looks set to harden public and political opposition even further, despite a torrent of scepticism from scientists about the work.
The study1, published in the peer-reviewed journal Food and Chemical Toxicology, looked for adverse health effects in rats fed NK603 maize (corn), developed by biotech company Monsanto to resist the herbicide glyphosate and approved for animal and human consumption in the European Union, United States and other countries. It reported that the rats developed higher levels of cancers, had larger cancerous tumours and died earlier than controls. The researchers have not conclusively identified a mechanism for the effect.
The rats were monitored for two years (almost their whole lifespan), making this the first long-term study of maize containing these specific genes. About a dozen long-term studies of different GM crops have failed to find such stark health effects2. An earlier test of NK603 maize in rats in a 90-day feeding trial — the current regulatory norm — sponsored by Monsanto showed no adverse effects3.
The explosion of media coverage about the findings has energized opponents of GM food, especially in Europe. French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said that, if the results are confirmed, the government will press for a Europe-wide ban on the maize. The European Commission has instructed the independent European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) in Parma, Italy, to assess the study.
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