Welcome to DU! The truly grassroots left-of-center political community where regular people, not algorithms, drive the discussions and set the standards. Join the community: Create a free account Support DU (and get rid of ads!): Become a Star Member Latest Breaking News Editorials & Other Articles General Discussion The DU Lounge All Forums Issue Forums Culture Forums Alliance Forums Region Forums Support Forums Help & Search


(35,773 posts)
Fri Feb 14, 2014, 03:40 PM Feb 2014

About Those Industry Funded GMO Studies . . .


"Let’s talk about those GMO funded studies. You know the ones. The ones you always hear about from Anti-GMO folks when you read the comment section for any story about GMOs. According to those folks, the whole scientific consensus on GMOs is based on those studies. According to peanut gallery, the only studies that show that GMOs pose no different risks than conventionally bred crops were all bought and paid for by Monsanto. That would make the consensus suspicious right? It would if there weren’t also a ton of independently funded studies that show the same thing.

Instead, what the complaints about industry funded studies show is an ignorance of the literature and a lazy desire to dismiss inconvenient evidence in order to preserve predetermined ideological commitments. It’s just plain old confirmation bias and motivated reasoning run amok.


When you start hollering "€˜Conflict of Interest"€™ before evaluating the evidence and analysis, it becomes a "€˜Get of Jail Free Card"€™. It becomes an excuse for discounting inconvenient evidence. Asking about conflicts of interest should be safeguard against getting snookered. Instead, it becomes a way to justify motivated reasoning. Awareness of conflict of interest should be a tool for explaining weak evidence and poor analysis. Instead it becomes an excuse for dismissing strong evidence and sound analysis. It leaves you lost in a hall of mirrors, surrounded by industry funded research, revolving door regulators, and defending bad research that confirms your biases. It leaves you lost in a fever swamp of paranoia without firm footing.

Examining the soundness of the evidence and the strength of the analysis must come first. Then you can decide whether questions of funding and loyalties are relevant. This is how you maintain a firm footing and hew to solid ground. This is how you can use awareness of conflicts of interest to avoid motivated reasoning. Otherwise you are only fueling the fire of your own biases."

A good read...
8 replies = new reply since forum marked as read
Highlight: NoneDon't highlight anything 5 newestHighlight 5 most recent replies


(35,762 posts)
1. The irony is that many "industry funded studies" are require by FDA and EPA.
Fri May 9, 2014, 10:56 AM
May 2014

The regulatory approval process often requires that industry fund studies by independent researchers. The industry has no control over design of the studies or reporting of results. But yet the fact that they funded the study will be cited as a reason for doubting it. It is diabolical.


(2 posts)
2. Agree
Mon May 12, 2014, 07:06 PM
May 2014

There is no 'independent' studies for GMOs. To purchase genetically modified seeds, a "customer" must sign an agreement that limits what can be done with them. This is because the seeds are considered ' intellectual property." There is no independent research because these scientists cannot cannot test the seeds on how they perform,cannot compare seeds from different companies and cannot examine whether crops grown from the seeds lead to unintended environmental side effects.

So what happens is only studies that Monsanto have approved will find themselves in a peer-reviewed journal. They can selectively deny permissions based on how ‘friendly’ or ‘hostile’ they think that scientist will be towards their seed or technology. That is the crux of the problem, we have to rely on their own selective studies. I think it is a leap to use intellectual property rights to deny research into products that impact food safety and environmental protection.


(35,773 posts)
4. All I Want for Mother’s Day is Non-labeled GMOs
Mon May 19, 2014, 12:33 PM
May 2014


As I’ve said, if you don’t understand transcription, translation, and protein synthesis and function at a high level at minimum, you don’t have sufficient understanding to justify an inherently anti-GM stance. While I won’t get deep enough to explain the minutiae of molecular biology, here is a briefing to start a layperson on genetic literacy: Essentially, proteins are the most basic functional components of living things. Proteins serve all purposes from structure, immunity, metabolic, nutritive, enzymatic functions, and more. They are macromolecules comprised of amino acid chains (polypeptides.) The sequence of amino acids in any protein determines its 3D structure. This sequence of amino acids is determined by codons, each codon coded for by 3 adjacent nucleotides. The DNA in a gene of any organism can be transcribed (into RNA), and translated (into proteins) in many varied permutations by alternative splicing of introns, allowing the functions of life to be carried out. This is a very abridged explanation, but there are some nice primers here and here.


Why shouldn’t GMOs be labeled?

1. Labeling regulations will hinder competition and growth among organizations like research institutions, universities, and private sector small and medium sized businesses, effectively clearing a nice, clean, path for large corporations like Monsanto. Contrary to popular belief, Monsanto is not the only player in the GMO game. Here is an incomplete list of organizations participating in R&D in the field. This list only includes institutions who actively work on GMO crops themselves. Other participants include sequencing laboratories (that help determine organisms’ genetic code or expressed genetic codes), experts in proteomics (study of protein structure and function), companies and individuals specializing in bioinformatics (analysis of large biological data), and more. Red tape is always easier for the rich to cut through and navigate. Anti-Monsanto types would be well-advised to reconsider their labeling stance.

2. Mandatory GMO labeling will hurt the environment. Labeling will increase stigma associated with a technology that people don’t understand, thus arbitrarily increasing demand for non-GMO foods. Non-GMO foods are harder on the environment in terms of water and energy needed for production.

3. Labels simply stating generally that a product contains or is a GMO do not make sense; they don’t actually inform the consumer. What type of labels do anti-GMO proponents want? If a label is to be meaningful, it would have to provide detailed information, including the genetic change, and the ultimate protein change achieved. Would the average consumer understand this? IMO, the answer is a resounding NO.


Latest Discussions»Culture Forums»Skepticism, Science & Pseudoscience»About Those Industry Fund...