Conflict of interests and evidence base for GM crops safety research


Source: Nature Biotechnology

Dr Miguel Angel Sanchez, Executive Director of ChileBio, studied published peer-reviewed articles on GM safety to learn the extent of literature related to safety; he also analysed the papers for conflicts of interest (COIs). Financial COIs are those where the research is funded by a company linked with GM crop development while professional COIs occur if an author is connected with a company developing GM crops.

The publications were grouped according to the objective of the study. The animal health category had the most reports with 204. Allergenicity potential had 46 articles, while mycotoxins and processing accounted for only 18 papers each. He also found that 58.3 percent of the papers had no COIs, while 25.8 percent had COIs either in terms of the author affiliation or the declared funding source.

He concluded that GM safety issues have been and continue to be extensively studied with the number of original research reports increasing over the past years. Different aspects of GM food/ feed safety have also been addressed, and animal health is the most frequently studied topic.  He also confirmed that majority of reports have no conflict from author affiliation and funding source. It is also important to mention that the analysis revealed that less than 5 percent of all reports had negative outcomes.

Article source: Nature Biotechnology 33, 135–137 (2015)  doi:10.1038/nbt.3133

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