Dr. Ena Sharing Science, Clinical GMO Experience, Abominable Humor, Favorite Music & a Bit of Wisdom
If Humans Were Rats…
Monsanto GMO Safety Test Assures… HALF would be DEAD,
*the Rest would SUFFER from Kidney and Liver DISEASE in UNDER 90 Days…
Veterinary Medicine Perspectives
Test Results Published for as Few as 4 ?!
First Red Flag: Ns (number of rats) in all Tables in this study should add to FOUR HUNDRED
“Results of a 13 week safety assurance study with rats fed grain from glyphosate tolerant (Round-Up-Ready) corn.”
Dear Food and Chemical Toxicology: Shouldn’t You Retract Hammond’s Study– Rather than Seralini’s ?
Food and Chemical Toxicology, the journal which recently retracted the infamous Seralinistudy- reporting kidney & liver disease, as well as unexpected breast cancer, also publishedfour safety assurance studies by Hammond et al.
Seralini was crucified in the popular media: ” Commentators variously claimed the study to be “biased”, “poorly performed”, “bogus”, “fraudulent”, “sub-standard”, “sloppy agenda-based science”, “inadequate” and “unsatisfactory”. Séralini was said to have “sought harm” for the rats, the experiment was dismissed as “inhumane” and the research group was called “partisan”. France was outed as “the most anti-science country in anti-science Europe” and vociferous GM supporters”
The reason for the retraction was simply bizarre. The study that replicated Monsanto’s 90 day safety test on Round Up Ready Corn (NK603) by Hammond et al was retracted because the results were found to be inconclusive : “Ultimately, the results presented (while not incorrect) are inconclusive, and therefore do not reach the threshold of publication for Food and Chemical Toxicology”
If this standard was applied to other studies in any field of science, 90% of studies would have to be retracted. But of the two studies, Hammond’s suffers from far worse, indeed- catastrophic flaws.
Agricultural GM cheerleaders who lobbied aggressively for retraction of Seralini’s life-long rat study, made darn sure that Hammond’s study which triggered Seralini’s study-never ever ever never drew any attention.
Read and understand this study- representing a standard safety test on the most prevalent transgenic crop in the food supply.
Full text of the study is linked above– take this opportunity to read the study linked –few GMO studies are OPEN ACCESS. In fact the majority are neither peer reviewed nor published.
The study is a safety assessment to ensure that the RoundUp Ready corn (NK 603) is as safe as conventional corn involving two components. Firstly, it is an evaluation of safety of thenewly introduced trait- Round Up Resistance conferred by the Round Up Ready transgene (CP4 EPSPS). Secondly, it is an assessment for possible toxicity due to unintended pleiotropic effects resulting from the insertion of the trait (transgene). [*]
But it appears this study does not provide robust evidence to support either claim, is evenless conclusive than Seralini– and should likewise be retracted.
The following dissection should clarify the reasons why it fails to live up to its title- Safety Assurance Study- a very bold claim, unsupported by evidence.
Elementary school arithmetic for non-scientists. Number of experimental animals (N) in Tables should be 20 because there were 20 rats/sex/group.
If you add the experimental and control rats in any category, test results should be available for 400 rats. Let see what happens when you try this exercise for bilirubin, in the table posted above, as an example. For male rats (Table 4) bilirubin is reported for 4-6 experimental and 36 control rats, while for females (Table 5) it’s reported for 7-8 experimental and 49 control rats.
So results are reported for (4 to 6 + 36) + (7 to 8 + 49) = 96 to 99 rats.
Where are the remaining 301 to 304 rats……on vacation ?
And what does a result on 4 to 6 mean, anyways? Was it four, five, or six rats?
Don’t feel too bad if you aren’t finding it easy, because the “esteemed” scientists and editors at Food and Chemical Toxicology, as well as regulators— flunked elementary school arithmetic.
The reason blinding has been used for hundreds of years in research is to prevent just this type of bias. Scientists often want a particular outcome from an experiment, and it is possible to choose the animals to test in such a way as to achieve desired results.
In a non-blinded experiment, where the researchers know which animals are exposed to which food, and test results are published for less than half the rats ( N 4-10, instead of 20 in Tables 2,3,4), the researchers are free to cherry pick the rats based on overt clinical signs.
If the transgenic corn was engineered with a metabolite toxic to the kidneys, the most affected rats would be identifiable, as they would be drinking excessively and urinating excessively. Rats with liver disease could likewise be avoided for sampling because their white skin would glow yellow due to jaundice.
But beyond just that– biochemistry and hematology are reported for half as many rats as were necropsied-dead-thus the data literally says, only half of the rats were analyzed because the other half died. Laboratory rats rarely to never go on Caribbean vacations.
Bias does not have to be due to deliberate deception- human nature makes scientists vulnerable to confirmation bias…which is the reason blinding is used in good experiments to mitigate bias.
Data and conclusions of a non-blinded experiment missing data for more than half the animals should be declared invalid by design.
- I could stop right here..this study is “inconclusive” based on this fact alone….
but I shall go on…because there is so much more.
Safety of Introduced CP4 EPSPS Trait
of Round Up Ready (CP4 EPSPS) Transgene Protein
NOT Ruled Out
 CP4 EPSPS protein has homology of SEVEN amino acids to a known and prevalent allergen- dust mite allergen (der p 7).
Hammond cites Harrison et al, a study on digestibility of CP4 EPSPS protein as evidence for lack of allergenicity of the introduced transgene. While digestibility is a preliminary step in screening novel proteins, it is not a substitute for immunologic studies. Hammond also cites studies on Round Up Ready soybeans as evidence of lack of allergenicity. However, studies on Round Up Ready soybeans are not a substitute for studies on Round Up Ready corn. Moreover, a targeted analysis on serum from patients with dust mites allergies was not performed on 25 serum samples in the studies. The largest inhibition ELISA on CP4 EPSPS was reported for Round Up Ready soybeans on a trivial sample of 4  and thus the studies would not uncover cross reactivity between Cp4 EPSPS and der p 7 in soybeans.
This meticulously conducted independent proteomics study on a different variety of genetically engineered corn  also shows a well known allergen. This 2DE gel detected 50KD gamma zein, a latent allergen expressed after the genome was disrupted by biolistics (gene gun).
- Failure to rule out allergenicity makes the study inconclusive… but I shall go on… there is more.
Toxicity Due to Pleiotropic Effects Resulting from Insertion into the Corn Genome [*]
Sprague Dawley rats suffer from spontaneous kidney disease, chronic progressive nephropathy (CPN) which confounds toxicology studies.
A urinalysis does indicate progression and loss of renal function by declining urine specific gravity, elevated levels of urine protein/ albumin, and casts- prior to elevation of blood tests.
These inexpensive and crucial functional tests are not published in this study nor any Hammond et al feeding trial.
- Absence of basic renal function tests makes this study inconclusive. I could stop right here, but I shall go on…because there is more.
The study instead reports mononuclear cell infiltrate, which is generally a feature ofinflammatory/ immune mediated processes. However, CPN is not an inﬂammatory or vascular disease, and it has no immunological or autoimmune basis. 
Furthermore, pathologists recommend histopathological grading on a scale of 0-4 (kidneysgraded by the study pathologist as minimal = 1 (less than 25% of renal tubules affected); mild = 2 (T 25–50%); moderate =3 (T 50–75%); or marked = 4 (T 75%);   which likewise was not done in this study, making a valid comparison of severity between the groups impossible.
So, if you recall the main, and I believe, valid criticism of Seralini as having sample sizes too small to draw conclusions, the same is the case with this study. The sample size is too small to rule out kidney toxicity, separate and apart from the other flaws I list. GMO toxicity would be masked by spontaneous kidney disease which doesn’t manifest until more than 75% of renal function has been destroyed.
- Failure to rule out reno-toxicity makes this study inconclusive. I could stop right here, but I shall go on… because there is more.
Tables 2,3,4 report normal liver enzymes which would suggest that the corn is not hepatotoxic. Unfortunately they do not.
Liver enzyme tests are not liver function tests-they are tests of inflammation. In fact, liver enzymes can appear relatively normal in the face of liver failure. Bilirubin is a marker of jaundice most often associated with hepato-biliary disease. In cats the most common form of liver disease is known as hepatic lipidosis or fatty liver disease. The same disease is recognized in rats and in people, and it is called non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).
Its prevalence rate is rising- especially among kids.
I present an illustrative case report with blood work and a urinalysis in a cat with imminent liver failure, in whom liver enzymes were nearly normal. The test most crucial for diagnosis was serum and urine bilirubin.
Recall at the very beginning of this post there is a table that shows that Total bilirubin (t.bili) in Table 4 is reported for 4-6 out of 20 male rats (and 7-8 out of 20 female rats.) Bilirubin values in the urine are not published for the rats at all.
The study reports multifocal chronic inflammation in most of the rats in Table 7 which is histopathological indicator of chronic inflammatory hepatitis. Histopathological inflammation is usually associated with elevation of liver enzymes, interestingly reported to be within normal ranges, which doesn’t make sense. The clinical test veterinarians usually perform to assess animal liver function ( in contrast to inflammation) is the bile acid test – available for rodents, but wasn’t performed.
The liver represents a suitable model for monitoring effects of a diet, due to its key role in controlling the whole metabolism.
A study examining effects of Round Up Ready soy diet were studied on liver of female mice in order to elucidate possible interference with ageing. Several proteins belonging to hepatocyte metabolism, stress response, calcium signalling and mitochondria were differentially expressed in GM-fed mice, indicating a more marked expression of senescence markers in comparison to controls. Moreover, hepatocytes of GM-fed mice showed mitochondrial and nuclear modifications indicative of reduced metabolic rate. The study demonstrated that GM soybean intake can influence some liver features during ageing while liver enzymes (the tests reported by Hammond et al) were not afffected at all. The mechanisms remain unknown, underlining the importance of investigating long-term consequences of GM-diets and the potential synergistic effects with ageing, xenobiotics and/or stress conditions.  
- Failure to rule out liver toxicity make this study inconclusive…
I could stop here… but there is more.
The experiment was conducted on 400 rats fed two doses of corn (11% & 33%). A balanced experimental design using 400 rats would consist of 50 rats/sex/dose on transgenic corn compared to 50 rats/sex/dose of its isogenic parent line grown side by side- agronomic factors (soil, fertilizers), and environmental influences (location, weather, stress) are all factors that must be considered during “GE versus non-GE” evaluations.  Environment has been shown to play a prominant effect in the protein, gene expression and metabolite levels in plants- in one maize study 5 proteins, 65 genes and 15 metabolites were found to be differentially expressed. Approximately 100 total proteins were differentially expressed as a consequence of environmental influence in a different independently conducted proteomics study. 
Yet, Hammond’s reference/control groups A-F are grown in random geographic locales such as Indiana, Iowa and Colorado, while the genetically engineered corn was grown in Ohio!Thus reference/ control A-F in Table 1 not grown in Ohio–are inappropriate reference groups used to establish invalid reference ranges. Shrinking the experimental group to 80 (20/sex/dose) while increasing the control group to 320 animals serves to increase type II error (false negatives), reducing sensitivity of detecting adverse health effects.
- I could stop right here. If the reference ranges for non-GE corn are invalid, it isn’t possible to compare GE and non-GE for statistical differences within 2 standard deviations as the study does, which makes this study inconclusive. But I shall go on…because there is more.
Statistics are invalid
- Tables 2-4 do not report precise number of rats. Means and standard deviations cannot be calculated for ranges (for example 4-6 or 9-10) of rats. A study with four times as many control/reference animals (N=320) as experimental (N=80) is intuitively grossly imbalanced. Statistics make the study inconclusive.
I hope I’ve clarified why this study by Hammond et al does not meet its stated goal of reassuring me of safety of this crop to rats. The other three studies linked above relied on the same flawed experimental design. By definition, no study on rats can meaningfully show safety to a human, since many adverse effects of food additives and drugs are often discovered only when large randomized epidemiological studies are performed on humans.
So, the next time you read a GMO booster criticize Seralini, please direct them here to justify every one of Hammond’s egregious flaws, as well as the fact that these safety studies haven’t been replicated long term–for a lifetime of a rat, which is the duration of time animals and people are expected to eat them.
My hope is that unwrapping one study for readers will open your eyes to the fraud that is GMO safety testing.
This, as well as the other 3 short term studies by Hammond et al, linked above, were cited by this “long-term” review by Snell et al which claims to show long term GMO safety….an absurd claim!!!
As another researcher, Dr. Latham aptly describes the flawed testing:
Hear Dr. Latham’s podcast here : GMO Scientist speaks on GMO concerns
I could go on and say more ….but I won’t. Hopefully, I’ve given you enough food for thought.
1.BMC Structural Biology Screening of transgenic proteins expressed in transgenic food crops for the presence of short amino acid sequences identical to potential, IgE – binding linear epitopes of allergens Gijs A Kleter1 and Ad ACM Peijnenburg1
8/29/2014 Edit: Snap! The WHO link went dead. Try : http://www.fao.org/docrep/007/y0820e/y0820e00.HTM
3. ISB NEWS REPORT • MAY 2010 Molecular Profiling Techniques as Tools to Detect Potential Unintended Effects in Genetically Engineered Maize. Eugenia Barros.http://researchspace.csir.co.za/dspace/bitstream/10204/4465/1/Barros1_2010.pdf
7. Toxicol. Sci. (2012) 128 (2): 346-356. Chemically Exacerbated Chronic Progressive Nephropathy Not Associated with Renal Tubular Tumor Induction in Rats: An Evaluation Based on 60 Carcinogenicity Studies by the National Toxicology PgramRonald L. Melnick, Kathleen M Burns, Jerrold M. Ward and James Huff
10. Clinical and Molecular Allergy 2007; 5:2 Assessment of allergen cross-reactivity Rob C Aalberse
11.Molecular profiling — a tool for addressing emerging gaps in the comparative risk assessment of GMOs Jack A. Heinemann, Brigitta Kurenbach,, David Quist
12. Histochem Cell Biol. 2008 Nov;130(5):967-77. Epub 2008 Jul 22.
A long-term study on female mice fed on a genetically modified soybean: effects on liver ageing.
[*] The study as designed by Hammond et al does not permit evaluation for pleotropic effects since there is a confounding factor that has not been segregated out. The corn was treated with Round Up- a mixture of glyphosate, AMPA and proprietary adjuvants. The authors state that glyphosate wasn’t detected at 250 ppb, however, the methodology isn’t listed. Typically residues are measured by High Pressure Liquid Chromatography in tandem with Mass Spectrometry or ELISA. Since methods weren’t published reported glyphosate residues are questionable. If indeed the levels of glyphosate were <250ppb they might not represent field conditions, and if greater-these additional chemicals make it impossible to tease away any potential metabolic toxicity caused by transgene insertion on the genome from chemical toxicity of Round Up and its adjuvants. It is also the reason that Seralini in his retracted paper came up with the “complicated design” separating rats into groups exposed to transgenic corn alone ( to evaluate effects of transgene insertion on the genome in isolation of Round Up) and those exposed to Round Up in the drinking water.
*When I say NK603 killed half the rats– it is literally what DATA indicates. Post mortem (necropsy or autopsy) histopathology in this study was done on rats who were dead, while biochemistry and hematology was reported for half of the animals necropsied.