Right as a California initiative to label all genetically modified foods is stirring up some controversy, a study published on Wednesday links genetically modified corn with cancer symptoms.
Researchers at the University of Caen fed rats a lifetime diet of Monsanto's genetically modified corn, which was made resistant to the weed killer Roundup, and found that the rats eventually developed tumors and multiple organ damage.
In fact, rats on the genetically modified diet specifically suffered from mammary tumors, plus liver and kidney damage. Of this group, 50 percent of males and 70 percent of females died prematurely. In the control group, however, only 30 percent of males and 20 percent of females died prematurely.
So naturally, we're thinking we should avoid genetically modified foods from now on because we really like our mammary glands and all. But New Scientist examined the study and found some reasons why we should doubt it. The strain of rats used, they point out, usually gets breast tumors easily. Five of the control rats (25 percent), also got tumors and died, while 60 percent in "some test groups" suffered the same. "Some other test groups, however, were healthier than the controls," the article says.
Furthermore, the researchers refused to allow journalists to get outside comments on the paper before publication. And while this was the first study focusing on the rats' entire lifespan, most studies cap off at two years, which is, you know, kind of as long as rats live.