LONDON, Sept 19 Rats fed a lifetime diet of
Monsanto's genetically modified corn or exposed to its
top-selling weedkiller Roundup suffered tumours and multiple
organ damage, according to a French study published on
Although the lead researcher's past record as a critic of
the industry may make other experts wary of drawing hasty
conclusions, the finding will stoke controversy about the safety
of GM crops.
In an unusual move, the research group did not allow
reporters to seek outside comment on their paper before its
publication in the peer-reviewed journal Food and Chemical
Toxicology and presentation at a news conference in London.
Gilles-Eric Seralini of the University of Caen and
colleagues said rats fed on a diet containing NK603 - a seed
variety made tolerant to dousings of Roundup - or given water
containing Roundup at levels permitted in the United States died
earlier than those on a standard diet.
The animals on the GM diet suffered mammary tumours, as well
as severe liver and kidney damage.
The researchers said 50 percent of males and 70 percent of
females died prematurely, compared with only 30 percent and 20
percent in the control group.
Seralini was part of a team that flagged previous safety
concerns based on a shorter rat study in a scientific paper
published in December 2009 but this takes things a step further
by tracking the animals throughout their two-year lifespan.
Monsanto said at the time of the earlier research that the
French researchers had reached "unsubstantiated conclusions."
Seralini believes his latest lifetime rat tests give a more
realistic and authoritative view of risks than the 90-day
feeding trials that form the basis of GM crop approvals, since
three months is only the equivalent of early adulthood in rats.