I’ve written this about 1 million times online (give or take 990,000) – the only thing that matters in science is evidence. Not opinion, not anecdotes, not bad research. The science that supports the safety and productivity of GMO crops is overwhelming, while one more of the anti-GMO articles has been retracted.
Science wins. And I guess lies and manufactured data don’t.
If this sounds familiar, it is. I wrote about a few weeks ago, discussing a paper, by Federico Infascelli and other colleagues, an animal nutrition researcher at the University of Naples in Italy, who attempted to show that GMO soybeans consumed by female goats could pass modified genes into the blood and organs of baby goats.
According to an article in Retraction Watch, there was a lot more going on. The good people at Retraction Watch translated an article in the Italian newspaper La Repubblica, which claimed that “an investigation suggests that Infascelli has manipulated images to suggest GMOs are harmful. He could face fines and be suspended from the university.”
Retraction Watch also that La Repubblica “also reported that a committee appointed by the rector of the university, Gaetano Manfredi, found errors in Infascelli’s data that suggested he had manipulated the results to show GMOs were harmful.”
And Infascelli’s research improprieties continue to grow.
More of Infascelli’s anti-GMO articles
Retraction Watch, once again providing invaluable information about bad research, reports that another of Infascelli’s anti-GMO articles has been retracted. In this case, the paper that has been retracted is a 2010 article in Food Nutrition Science, entitled “Fate of transgenic DNA and evaluation of metabolic effects in goats fed genetically modified soybean and in their offsprings.”
In the retraction note for the article, the editors noted:
“Digital manipulation?” Wow, that’s a serious charge.
Nature, a highly respected science journal, has also weighed in on Infascelli’s “research.” Nature noted that both papers (now retracted) were among three that raised concerns for Italian senator Elena Cattaneo, a neuroscientist at the University of Milan. Senator Cattaneo noted:
Like the discredited and ultimately retracted article by Gilles-Eric Séralini from a few years ago, Infascelli seemed determined to show that GMO crops were somehow dangerous. Lacking evidence, he apparently fell victim to the temptation to invent data. He didn’t fool anyone.
Although I wrote about the bad science in my original article about Infascelli’s fraudulent research, it bears repeating.
Enrico Bucci, who works at BioDigital Valley, a firm that specializes in analyzing scientific literature, has issued a report examining eight of Infascelli’s papers, including his Ph.D. thesis. The report places all of Infascelli’s work into question.
Here are some of their findings:
- Deletion of data via digital manipulation and software
- Cropped figures and charts that eliminate contradictory data
- Splicing of data from unrelated studies
- Fabricating data
- Creating figures by moving data between lanes in the images
- Duplication of lanes
- Deletion of bands
Furthermore, Layla Katiraee, Ph.D., a molecular geneticist, wrote in Biofortified that Infascelli’s research contained flawed materials, methods, and analysis. For example, he failed to specify the source of the animal feed, but, more importantly, failed to report a nutritional analysis of the feed to determine if or how much GMO soy was in the feed.
In other words, we’re not sure what the goats were fed. For all we know, they were fed non-GMO food, which would then mean that his research, even if his results were remotely verifiable, showed nothing whatsoever.
Dr. Katiraee summarizes Infascelli’s paper, just so the readers here are fully cognizant of what has happened:
Infascelli’s articles were published in really low level journals, who apparently have enough integrity that they do have a minimum standard for veracity of research.
The vast breadth and depth of real scientific research supports the conclusion that GMO crops are safe and productive. It’s not even close.
Furthermore, the leading scientists of the world have arrived at a consensus, based on this solid evidence, that GMO crops are safe. And useful to humanity.
Of course, one can resort to cherry-picking a bad article here and there to support your belief that GMOs are dangerous – Infascelli’s junk science should be off the list.
On the other hand, I still see the thoroughly debunked Séralini research being used as “proof” of the dangers of GMO corn. More evidence that the GMO deniers are the climate change deniers of the left.
- Abbott A. Italian papers on genetically modified crops under investigation. Nature. 2016 Jan 21;529(7586):268-9. doi: 10.1038/nature.2016.19183. PubMed PMID: 26791701.
- Mastellone V, Tudisco R, Monastra G, Pero ME, Calabrò S, Lombardi P, Grossi M, Cutrignelli MI, Avallone L, Infascelli F. Gamma-Glutamyl Transferase Activity in Kids Born from Goats Fed Genetically Modified Soybean. Food Nutrition Sci. 2013 June; 4 (6A): 50-54. doi: 10.4236/fns.2013.46A006.
- Tudisco R, Mastellone V, Cutrignelli MI, Lombardi P, Bovera F, Mirabella N, Piccolo G, Calabrò S, Avallone L, Infascelli F. Fate of transgenic DNA and evaluation of metabolic effects in goats fed genetically modified soybean and in their offsprings. Animal. 2010 Oct;4(10):1662-71. doi: 10.1017/S1751731110000728. PubMed PMID: 22445119.