Opponents of genetically modified crops have jumped on the results of a new study, which claims to have linked the consumption of GM maize with the development of tumors in rats -- despite widespread criticism of the research from independent scientists around the world.
The paper, published in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology, has generated highly tweetable headlines, including the Global Post's alarming announcement that: "Monsanto corn causes tumors in rats, new study finds."
Far below the horrifying pictures of mice with enormous tumors, some of the most frightening articles embed caveats. But, experts say, the criticisms should trump the results of the study, which used questionable methods, tumor-prone rats, and poor statistical techniques.
The research also came out of a French research lab, whose anti-GM studies have been harshly criticized in the past.
"There is very little scientific credibility to this paper," said Martina Newell–McGloughlin, a plant biotechnologist at the University of California, Davis. "The flaws in the test are just incredible to me. To be totally honest with you, the type of statistical analysis they used is really a type of fishing expedition. One individual referred to it as 'fantasy statistics.'"