Friday, September 21, 2012

Roundup Implicated in Long Term Rat Study

Roundup has already been strongly indicated as an agent impacting Amphibian populations. Now we have a clear indication of damaging toxicity in mammalian populations. Our immediate take home has to be that application of roundup needs to be tightly managed. Complete rejection is the best option if it happens to be practical, otherwise minimize its use as much as possible.

I do not have any sense here that the GMO corn is going any of the damage and this is something that needs to be also checked using the same protocol. In fairness, it should not. GMO may well use alien DNA, but we consume alien DNA as a matter of course and it will need a remarkable lapse in judgment to have a problem.

However Roundup is quite another matter and to discover this result in rat tests so late in the day tells me that testing has been deliberately gamed for years. Roundup has been with us for half a century.

I often wondered what my father read into the Roundup label when he took it back in the early sixties.

Shocking findings in new GMO study: Rats fed lifetime of GM corn grow horrifying tumors, 70% of females die early

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

by Mike Adams,

Learn more: 

(NaturalNews) Eating genetically modified corn (GM corn) and consuming trace levels of Monsanto's Roundup chemical fertilizer caused rats to develop horrifying tumors, widespread organ damage, and premature death. That's the conclusion of a shocking new study that looked at the long-term effects of consuming Monsanto's genetically modified corn.

The study has been deemed "the most thorough research ever published into the health effects of GM food crops and the herbicide Roundup on rats." News of the horrifying findings is spreading like wildfire across the internet, with even the mainstream media seemingly in shock over the photos of rats with multiple grotesque tumors... tumors so large the rats even had difficulty breathing in some cases. GMOs may be the new thalidomide.

"Monsanto Roundup weedkiller and GM maize implicated in 'shocking' new cancer study" wrote The Grocery, a popular UK publication. (

It reported, "Scientists found that rats exposed to even the smallest amounts, developed mammary tumors and severe liver and kidney damage as early as four months in males, and seven months for females."

The Daily Mail reported, "Fresh row over GM foods as French study claims rats fed the controversial crops suffered tumors." (

It goes on to say: "The animals on the GM diet suffered mammary tumors, 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."

The study, led by Gilles-Eric Seralini of the University of Caen, was the first ever study to examine the long-term (lifetime) effects of eating GMOs. You may find yourself thinking it is absolutely astonishing that no such studies were ever conducted before GM corn was approved for widespread use by the USDA and FDA, but such is the power of corporate lobbying and corporate greed.

The study was published in The Food & Chemical Toxicology Journal and was just presented at a news conference in London.

Findings from the study

Here are some of the shocking findings from the study:

• Up to 50% of males and 70% of females suffered premature death.

• Rats that drank trace amounts of Roundup (at levels legally allowed in the water supply) had a 200% to 300% increase in large tumors.

• Rats fed GM corn and traces of Roundup suffered severe organ damage including liver damage and kidney damage.

• The study fed these rats NK603, the Monsanto variety of GM corn that's grown across North America and widely fed to animals and humans. This is the same corn that's in your corn-based breakfast cereal, corn tortillas and corn snack chips.

The Daily Mail is reporting on some of the reaction to the findings:

France's Jose Bove, vice-chairman of the European Parliament's commission for agriculture and known as a fierce opponent of GM, called for an immediate suspension of all EU cultivation and import authorisations of GM crops. 'This study finally shows we are right and that it is urgent to quickly review all GMO evaluation processes,' he said in a statement. 'National and European food security agencies must carry out new studies financed by public funding to guarantee healthy food for European consumers.' (

Read the study abstract

The study is entitled, "A Comparison of the Effects of Three GM Corn Varieties on Mammalian Health." Read the abstract here:

That abstract include this text. Note: "hepatorenal toxicity" means toxic to the liver.

Our analysis clearly reveals for the 3 GMOs new side effects linked with GM maize consumption, which were sex- and often dose-dependent. Effects were mostly associated with the kidney and liver, the dietary detoxifying organs, although different between the 3 GMOs. Other effects were also noticed in the heart, adrenal glands, spleen and haematopoietic system. We conclude that these data highlight signs of hepatorenal toxicity, possibly due to the new pesticides specific to each GM corn. In addition, unintended direct or indirect metabolic consequences of the genetic modification cannot be excluded.

Here are some quotes from the researchers:

"This research shows an extraordinary number of tumors developing earlier and more aggressively - particularly in female animals. I am shocked by the extreme negative health impacts." - Dr Michael Antoniou, molecular biologist, King's College London.

"We can expect that the consumption of GM maize and the herbicide Roundup, impacts seriously on human health." - Dr Antoniou.

"This is the first time that a long-term animal feeding trial has examined the impact of feeding GM corn or the herbicide Roundup, or a combination of both and the results are extremely serious. In the male rats, there was liver and kidney disorders, including tumors and even more worryingly, in the female rats, there were mammary tumors at a level which is extremely concerning; up to 80 percent of the female rats had mammary tumors by the end of the trial." - Patrick Holden, Director, Sustainable Food Trust.

Learn more:

Int J Biol Sci 2009; 5(7):706-726. doi:10.7150/ijbs.5.706

Research Paper

A Comparison of the Effects of Three GM Corn Varieties on Mammalian Health

Joël Spiroux de Vendômois1, François Roullier1, Dominique Cellier1,2, Gilles-Eric Séralini1,3

    1. CRIIGEN, 40 rue Monceau, 75008 Paris, France
    2. University of Rouen LITIS EA 4108, 76821 Mont-Saint-Aignan, France
    3. University of Caen, Institute of Biology, Risk Pole CNRS, EA 2608, 14032 Caen, France


We present for the first time a comparative analysis of blood and organ system data from trials with rats fed three main commercialized genetically modified (GM) maize (NK 603, MON 810, MON 863), which are present in food and feed in the world. NK 603 has been modified to be tolerant to the broad spectrum herbicide Roundup and thus contains residues of this formulation. MON 810 and MON 863 are engineered to synthesize two different Bt toxins used as insecticides. Approximately 60 different biochemical parameters were classified per organ and measured in serum and urine after 5 and 14 weeks of feeding. GM maize-fed rats were compared first to their respective isogenic or parental non-GM equivalent control groups. This was followed by comparison to six reference groups, which had consumed various other non-GM maize varieties. We applied nonparametric methods, including multiple pairwise comparisons with a False Discovery Rate approach. Principal Component Analysis allowed the investigation of scattering of different factors (sex, weeks of feeding, diet, dose and group). Our analysis clearly reveals for the 3 GMOs new side effects linked with GM maize consumption, which were sex- and often dose-dependent. Effects were mostly associated with the kidney and liver, the dietary detoxifying organs, although different between the 3 GMOs. Other effects were also noticed in the heart, adrenal glands, spleen and haematopoietic system. We conclude that these data highlight signs of hepatorenal toxicity, possibly due to the new pesticides specific to each GM corn. In addition, unintended direct or indirect metabolic consequences of the genetic modification cannot be excluded.

Keywords: GMO, toxicity, GM corn, rat, NK 603, MON 810, MON 863

There is a world-wide debate concerning the safety and regulatory approval process of genetically modified (GM) crops and foods [1, 2]. In order to scientifically address this issue, it is necessary to have access to toxicological tests, preferably on mammals, performed over the longest time-scales involving detailed blood and organ system analyses. Furthermore, these tests should, if possible, be in accordance with OECD guidelines. Unfortunately, this has been a challenge since usually these are regulatory tests performed confidentially by industry prior to commercialization of their GM crops, pesticides, drugs or chemicals. As a result, it is more instructive to investigate the available data that allows comparisons of several GMOs consumptions on health effects. This will allow the most appropriate statistical analyses to be performed in order to avoid possible false positive as well as false negative results. The physiological criteria used to either accept or reject any GM significant effect as relevant should be made clear. Here we discuss sex-related, temporal, linear and non-linear dose effects which are often involved in the establishment of chronic and endocrine diseases.

We investigated three different GM corn namely NK 603, MON 810 and MON 863, which were fed to rats for 90 days. The raw data have been obtained by European governments and made publically available for scrutiny and counter-evaluation. These studies constitute a model to investigate possible subchronic toxicological effects of these GM cereals in mammals and humans. These are the longest in vivo tests performed with mammals consuming these GMOs. The animals were monitored for numerous blood and organ parameters. One corn (NK 603) has been genetically engineered to tolerate the broad spectrum herbicide Roundup and thus contains residues of this formulation. The two other types of GM maize studied produce two different new insecticides namely modified versions of Cry1Ab (MON 810) and Cry3Bb1 (MON 863) Bacillus thuringiensis-derived proteins. Therefore, all these three GM maize contain novel pesticide residues that will be present in food and feed. As a result, the potential effects on physiological parameters, due either to the recognized mutagenic effects of the GM transformation process or to the presence of the above mentioned novel pesticides within these plants can be evaluated in animal feeding studies.

2.1. Experimental design

The three animal feeding studies were conducted in two different laboratories and at two different dates; at Monsanto (Missouri, USA) for NK 603 and MON 810 (June 7, 2000) and at Covance Laboratories Inc. (Virginia, USA) for MON 863 (March 14, 2001) on behalf of Monsanto. The young adult male and female rats, approximately 4-6 week-old, were of the Sprague-Dawley albino strain Crl:CD(SD)IGS BR®, (obtained from Charles River Laboratories Inc., NY, USA). The animals (400 per GMO; 200 for each sex) were randomized for similar body weight distribution. In fact, there were only two treated groups for each sex (20 animals each consuming specific GM maize feed). Only 10 rats were measured per group for blood and urine parameters and served as the basis for the major statistical analyses conducted. In addition, the investigators claimed that OECD guidelines and standards were followed. For each type of GM maize, only two feeding doses were tested per sex. This consisted of either 11 or 33% GM maize in an otherwise equivalent equilibrated diet; that is when the diet contained only 11% GM maize, the difference was made up by adding 22% non-GM maize (varieties not indicated). There were also two comparative control groups fed diets containing similar quantities of the closest isogenic or parental maize variety. Furthermore, groups of animals were also fed with diets containing one of six other normal (non-GM) reference maize lines; the same lines for the NK 603 and MON 810 tests, but different types for the MON 863 trials. We note that these unrelated, different non-GM maize types were not shown to be substantially equivalent to the GMOs. The quantity of some sugars, ions, salts, and pesticide residues, do in fact differ from line to line, for example in the non-GM reference groups. This not only introduced unnecessary sources of variability but also increased considerably the number of rats fed a normal non-GM diet (320) compared to the GM-fed groups (80) per transformation event, which considerably unbalances the experimental design. A group consisting of the same number of animals fed a mixture of these test diets would have been a better and more appropriate control. In addition, no data is shown to demonstrate that the diets fed to the control and reference groups were indeed free of GM feed.

2.2. Data collection

The raw biochemical data, necessary to allow a statistical re-evaluation, should be made publically available according to European Union Directive CE/2001/18 but unfortunately this is not always the case in practice. On this occasion, the data we required for this analysis were obtained either through court actions (lost by Monsanto) to obtain the MON 863 feeding study material (June 2005), or by courtesy of governments or Greenpeace lawyers. We thank the Swedish Board of Agriculture, May 30, 2006 for making public the NK 603 data upon request from Greenpeace Denmark and lawyers from Greenpeace Germany, November 8, 2006 for MON 810 material. This allowed us to conduct for the first time a precise and direct side-by-side comparison of these data from the three feeding trials with these GMOs.

Approximately 80 different biochemical and weight parameters, including crude and relative measures (Table A, Annexes), were evaluated in serum and urine after 5 and 14 weeks of feeding. We classified these per organ (markers by site of synthesis or regulation). These organs weighed at the end of the experimental period, along with the whole body were: adrenal glands, brain, gonads, heart, kidneys, liver, and spleen. In addition, some parameters measured were related to bone marrow (blood cells) and pancreas (glucose) function. Unfortunately, some important measurements serving as markers for liver function were not conducted for technical or unknown reasons. This included gamma glutamyl transferase after 90 days feeding, cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the NK 603 and MON 810 trials, and cytochrome P450 family members in all cases. In addition, important sex difference markers were also ignored such as blood sex or pituitary hormone levels. Furthermore, it is well known and present in OECD guidelines that measurements should be conducted for at least 3 different experimental points to study dose- or time-related effects. Contrastingly and for reasons that are not stated, in all three studies for all three GMOs, only 2 doses and periods of feeding were measured, which makes it difficult to evaluate dose and cumulative effects. We have in a first instance indicated lacking values for different parameters (Annexes, Tables B, C, D).

2.3. Statistical power related to the experimental design

The most fundamental point to bear in mind from the outset is that a sample size of 10 for biochemical parameters measured two times in 90 days is largely insufficient to ensure an acceptable degree of power to the statistical analysis performed and presented by Monsanto. For example, concerning the statistical power in a t test at 5%, with the comparison of 2 samples of 10 rats, there is 44% chance to miss a significant effect of 1 standard deviation (SD; power 56%). In this case to have a power of 80% would necessitate a sample size of 17 rats. Therefore, the statistical power is insufficient in these studies to allow an a priori dismissal of all significant effects. Indeed, this is true overall with the amplitude of the effects that can usually be observed within three months, in the case of usual chronic toxicity appearing after one year of treatment. Hence, the lack of rejection of the null hypothesis at 5% does not mean that this hypothesis is true. Thus, the assessment of statistical power is absolutely necessary to understand the undetectable size effect; the statistical power depends on the sample and effect size, and the level of the test. This is exemplified when Monsanto performed one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) calculations at 5% with a sample size of 10 animals for 10 groups. In this case the probability of not detecting a medium size effect [3] (0.5 SD for a t test for instance) is about 70% (power of the test 30%). However, the fact is that within 90 days, a chronic toxicity has a maximum chance of giving rise to a medium rather than large size effects. The disturbance of parameters at the beginning of a disease is generally less important than at its end or as time progresses. Therefore, the protocol has to be drastically improved at this level, and as a result we consider that based on the analysis as presented by Monsanto that it fails to demonstrate that the consumption of these GM maize feeds was indeed safe as claimed. Any sign of toxicity should be taken into consideration to justify the prolongation of the experiment, or, if this is not possible, to reassess the statistical analysis, and to propose a scientifically valid physiological interpretation of any findings relating to disturbed functional parameters on a per organ basis. This was the ultimate objective of this investigation.

In reality, in their report containing the raw data and statistical analysis, Monsanto did not apply in any case their chosen and described statistical methods. Only parametric tests (one-way ANOVA under homoscedasticity hypothesis and Student t tests on contrasts) were employed. Moreover, to select significant results, they only contrasted the data sets from the 33% GM maize feeding groups (for NK 603 and MON 810) with all reference groups. Moreover, their biological interpretation of statistically significant results differs from case to case. In particular, sex differences were frequently used to reject pathological significance, despite the fact that this was without measuring effects on sex hormone levels. They also used the lack of linear dose-related effects, which is almost inevitable given that only two feeding doses were measured, to declare the diet as safe, as proposed for MON 863 GM maize [4]. In the MON 863 experiments, the authors still failed to apply their declared methodology, which was slightly different. The ANOVA and contrast analysis (33% GM feeding dose versus controls) were in this case the determining criteria for evaluation of statistical significance, but only if the mean of the 33% GM feeding group was outside the range of the mean of the reference cohorts. All this increases noticeably the risks of false negative results.

Consequently, based on the clear inadequacy of the statistical power used to refute toxic effects (for instance the unquestionable large size effects in this study), knowing also that billions of people and animals can consume these products prior to the performance of appropriate in vivo safety evaluation, we applied an appropriate, experimentally validated statistical analytical methodology [5], elements of which are described below.

2.4. Statistical methods employed

We first repeated the same statistical analysis as conducted by Monsanto to verify descriptive statistics (sample size, means, and standard deviation) and ANOVA per sex, per variable and for each of the three GMO. For all that, the normality of the residues was tested using the Shapiro test and the homoscedasticity (homogeneity of the variances) using the Bartlett test. In the case where the Shapiro and Bartlett tests were non significant (*p > 0.05 and **p > 0.01, respectively) we performed an ANOVA [6, 7], and in the case of heteroscedasticity the approximate Welch method was used. In the case where the Shapiro test was significant, we performed the Kruskal-Wallis rank sum test [7, 8].

We then analyzed the effects of the GM maize varieties on each sex and each diet by pairwise comparisons of the parameters of GM-fed rats versus control groups, and subsequently to the unrelated non-GM maize reference groups. The statistical differences between reference and control groups were calculated in order to study the effects of the different normal diets per se (due to differences in salts, sugars, minerals, vitamins, pesticides, etc composition), and indicated by contrast to Monsanto's work (see legend Table 1). In order to select the appropriate two-tailed comparison test [7], we again studied first normality (Shapiro test) and variance equality (F test). According to the results, we performed the adapted test; that is, an unpaired t test, a Welch corrected t test or a Mann-Whitney test (which is generally more appropriate with a sample size of 10). To perform multiple pairwise comparisons, we used the False Discovery Rate approach (FDR, [9]) to calculate adjusted p-values, in order to limit the rate of false positives to 5%. We preferred Benjamini and Yekutieli's method [10] rather than that of Benjamini and Hochberg [11] as the parameters under investigation are not independent. In addition, after centering and scaling the data, Principal Components Analysis (PCA, [12]) was performed in order to study the scattering of the different factors (sex, period, diet, dose and group). Finally, we established per group for each rat and by parameter the representations and paired tests corresponding to the temporal changes between the two feeding periods.

We used the R language [7] version 2.5 for all statistical computations [13] with the appropriate package: pwr package for power studies, the bioconductor's multtest package for FDR [14-15] and the ADE4 package [16, 17] for multivariate analysis.

We have previously reported indications of toxicity in rats fed with MON 863 GM maize for 90 days [5]. However, these signs of toxicity alone do not constitute proof of adverse health effects. We have therefore extended our initial analysis on the MON 863 feeding data by collectively compiling the significant differences observed in the physiological and biochemical parameters measured in feeding trials of rats with each of the three GM maize varieties MON 863, MON 810 and NK 603 (Tables 1, 2; Annex Table E). When we then initially compare all p-values in our calculations with those of Monsanto (significant and non significant differences, Annex Table E), we obtain ratios of 432/452 (NK 603), 435/450 (MON 810) and 442/470 (MON 863). By employing our statistical methods even if we reached a concordance with Monsanto's results (Annex TableE), the level of precision of the main effects and their interpretation are highly different. Therefore, we then progressed to consider only relative differences over 5% (Tables 1 and 2).

3.1. NK 603

We first evaluated the results for the NK 603 feeding trials. The observations shown in Table 1 with relative differences versus controls reveal that of 23 significantly different effects that are supposed to be due to this GM maize, 18 are in males (raw means with SEM; Annex Table F). The repartition of effects is thus sex-dependent. In addition, in general liver (Fig. 1) and kidney (Fig. 2) parameters in all rats are sex differentially expressed. This is evident not only in the experiments involving NK 603, independently of the treatment at week 14, but also at week 5 (data not shown), but similarly observed in the MON 810 and MON 863 feeding tests (Annex Fig. A- Fig. D).

Males are clearly more sensitive than female animals to show physiological disturbances when fed NK 603. This is not observed for all three GM maize varieties. Moreover, most effects appear to be dose-dependent since 83% of male effects emerge only at the 33% feeding level (15/18), the highest GM maize concentration in the diet (Table1). The maximal mean differences are observed in male kidney parameters.

Urine phosphorus, for instance, is importantly disturbed in a dose-dependent manner and at both 5 and 14 week periods of feeding and hence reproducible over time. The significant effect at this level does not appear to be a false positive result (week 5, 33%, adjusted p<0 .003=".003" 14="14" 33="33" according="according" adjusted="adjusted" all="all" also="also" and="and" benjamini="benjamini" calculated="calculated" comparable="comparable" considering="considering" differences="differences" fdr="fdr" for="for" i="i" independent.="independent." lymphocyte="lymphocyte" males="males" neutrophil="neutrophil" not="not" obtained="obtained" p="p" parameters="parameters" relative="relative" results="results" that="that" to="to" week="week" were="were" yekutieli="yekutieli">

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