Many studies on genetic modification biased because of authors’ links to companies

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Source: TimesOfIndia.com
Subodh Varmal
December 17, 2016

NEW DELHI: Researchers have found that a large share of scientific studies on genetically modified (GM) crops were tainted by conflicts of interest, mostly because of having an employee of a GM producing company as one of the authors or having received funding from the company.

Out of the 579 published studies on GM crops that were analysed, about 40 per cent showed such conflict of interest, the researchers affiliated to France’s National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA) found. Their study is published in the journal PLOS ONE this week.

“We found that ties between researchers and the GM crop industry were common, with 40 per cent of the articles considered displaying conflicts of interest,” said the study.

They also discovered that studies with conflict of interest had much more likelihood of presenting a favourable outcome for GM crops compared to those with no conflict of interest.

“In particular, we found that, compared to the absence of COI (conflict of interest), the presence of a COI was associated with a 50 per cent higher frequency of outcomes favorable to the interests of the GM crop company,” the study said.

Common crops like corn, soybean etc. can be made resistant to certain pests by introducing genes from a bacteria called Bacillus thuringiensis, hence the name ‘Bt’. Considerable research has been devoted to charting efficacy and durability of Bt crops.

Thomas Guillemaud, director of research at France’s National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA), told AFP that the team originally looked at 672 studies before narrowing down to the pool to 579 that showed clearly whether there was or was not a financial conflict of interest.

“Of this total, 404 were American studies and 83 were Chinese,” he said.

“The most important point was how we also showed there is a statistical link between the presence of conflicts of interest and a study that comes to a favorable conclusion for GMO crops,” Guillemaud said.

“When studies had a conflict of interest, this raised the likelihood 49 per cent that their conclusions would be favorable to GMO crops.”

Among the 350 articles without conflicts of interest, 36 per cent were favorable to GM crop companies. Among the 229 studies with a conflict of interest, 54 per cent were favorable to GM companies.

“We thought we would find conflicts of interest, but we did not think we would find so many,” Guillemaud told AFP.

One limitation of the study was that it investigated only direct financial conflict of interest. As the authors point out in the study paper itself, “authors may have affiliations to GM crop companies of other types, such as being members of advisory boards, consultants, or co-holders of patents, and this could also have a significant impact on the outcomes of studies on GM crops.”

Read More at: TimesOfIndia.com

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BreakawayConsciousness

Zy Marquiez is an avid book reviewer, researcher, an open-minded skeptic, yogi, humanitarian, and freelance writer who regularly studies subjects such as: Consciousness, Education, Creativity, The Individual, Ancient History & Ancient Civilizations, Forbidden Archaeology, Big Pharma, Alternative Health, Space, Geoengineering, Social Engineering, Propaganda, and much more. His own personal blog is BreakawayConsciousnessBlog.wordpress.com where his personal work is shared, while TheBreakaway.wordpress.com serves as a media portal which mirrors vital information usually ignored by mainstream press, but still highly crucial to our individual understanding of various facets of the world. My work can also be found on https://steemit.com/@zyphrex.

One thought on “Many studies on genetic modification biased because of authors’ links to companies”

  1. Reblogged this on D. M. Hutchins and commented:
    I am rarely shocked or genuinely surprised, but I seriously did a double-take when I first learned that Bill Nye had become a Monsanto puppet… I still can’t get my head around my childhood Science Guy becoming The Man in my adulthood. Its sad that he will just toe the line of whoever writes the biggest check, and become what I now call “Bill Nye the Science Lie”…

    Liked by 1 person

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