This French study is clearly having a political impact, causing governments to look more closely at the supposed safety of GMOs. From my point of view, that heightened scrutiny is long overdue. Whether this particular study holds up on further review and is replicated in further studies is at this point unknown. I would also suggest that such review is urgently needed for the industry-funded studies claiming safety.
The biotech industry and university researchers involved in GM research have mounted a major PR campaign over the last year to win over sceptical consumers.
In the past week, pro-GM scientists have been lining up to undermine the French experiments and criticise the way they were conducted.
However, a number of independent academics have praised the French team’s work, describing it as the most thorough and extensive feeding trials involving GM to date.
Mustafa Djamgoz, the Professor of Cancer Biology, at Imperial College, London, said the findings relating to eating GM corn were a ‘surprise’.
Prof Djamgoz, who describes himself as a neutral on GM, said: ‘The results are significant. The experiments are, more or less, the best of their kind to date.’
However, he said that it is now important to ensure they are repeated with more animals by independent laboratories to confirm the outcome.
‘We are not scaremongering here. More research, including a repetition of this particular study are warranted,’ he said.
The professor said it will take two to three years to get a definitive answer.