Gilles-Éric Séralini

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Gilles-Éric Séralini
Pr Gilles-Eric Séralini.JPG
Séralini at a meeting on 4 October 2015
Born (1960-08-23) 23 August 1960 (age 56)
Bône, Algeria (then French Algeria)
Residence Caen, France
Fields Endocrinology
Institutions University of Caen
Alma mater University of Montpellier II
Thesis Rôle inhibiteur de l'alphafoetoprotéine sur la fonction génitale du rat (1987)
Known for Séralini affair
Notable awards Knight of the National Order of Merit
Spouse Soline Séralini[1]
Children Two

Gilles-Éric Séralini (born 23 August 1960) is a French molecular biologist, political advisor and activist on genetically modified organisms and foods. He is of Algerian-French origin. Séralini has been a professor of molecular biology at the University of Caen since 1991, and is president and chairman of the board of CRIIGEN.[2]

His work and publication strategies on GMOs have been controversial.[3] A paper he published in 2012 attracted major controversy.

Early life[edit]

Séralini was born on 23 August 1960 in Annaba, Algeria (then known as Bône) during the Algerian War of Independence. His father was a telecommunications technician and his mother was a schoolteacher.[4] His family soon settled in Thonon-les-Bains, Haute Savoie, and then Nice, France. Séralini obtained his baccalaureate degree at the age of 16.

Career[edit]

In 1987, Séralini obtained his doctoral degree from the University of Montpellier II. He then did four years of research at, among other places, the University of Western Ontario and Laval University Medical Center. Séralini underwent research on corticosteroid-binding globulin, before being appointed a professor at the University of Caen in June 1991, a position he has held ever since. The general area of his lab's research focuses on the endocrine system,[5] in particular the enzyme aromatase. His lab has synthesized a number of aromatase inhibitors using equine aromatase as a model.[6][non-primary source needed] His research has been published in the Journal of Histochemistry & Cytochemistry, the Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology.

In 1997, he became interested in genetically modified organisms, publicly appealing for the precautionary principle to be followed.[5] He was appointed to various government posts, including roles in the French government, the European Union and the European Commission.[7] From 1998 till 2007 Séralini was a member of the French Biomolecular Engineering Commission which was tasked with evaluating GMO allowances for both the French Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of the Environment.

CRIIGEN[edit]

Séralini founded the Committee of Research and Independent Information on Genetic Engineering (CRIIGEN) with Corine Lepage, a former politician, and Pierre-Henri Gouyon, a professor from the Muséum national d'histoire naturelle, in 1999.[5] CRIIGEN is publicly opposed to genetically modified food (GM food).[8][9][10] Séralini founded CRIIGEN because he judged that studies on GM food safety were inadequate, and questioned their acceptance.[8]

In 2007, Séralini and two other authors from the University of Caen and the University of Rouen published a Greenpeace-funded paper using data obtained from rat feeding studies conducted by Monsanto in 2004.[11][12][13] They concluded that the genetically modified maize used, MON 863, resulted in significant variations to the control rats weight, triglyceride levels and urine composition.[11] They also concluded it effected the liver, kidney, adrenal glands, heart, and haematopoietic system and recommended that safety experiments continue beyond 90 days.[11] Greenpeace cited the study in a press release calling for MON 863's recall and a review of testing methods.[14]

The paper prompted the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) to reexamine the MON 863 safety data. It asked EU countries for any new data about the strain, new opinions on the original Monsanto study and a technical meeting with the authors of the 2007 CRIIGEN paper. The EFSA concluded that all blood chemistry and organ weight values fell within the normal range for the control animals in question[15] and that the Séralini paper used incorrect statistical methods.[16] In 2010 Markos Kyprianou (European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy) confirmed the doubts in a report to the European Parliament.[17] The French Commission du Génie Biomoléculaire (AFBV) also reached critical conclusions.[18] Food Standards Australia New Zealand attributed the differences between rats fed MON 863 corn and control rats to normal biological variation (for the species in question)."[19][20]

In 2009, the Séralini lab published another study, which re-analyzed toxicity data for glyphosate resistant, MON 810 and MON 863 strains, concluded that they showed liver, kidney and heart damages in the rats.[21] EFSA found no base for the claims and saw many of the statistical criticisms of the 2007 paper applying to the 2009 paper also.[22] The French High Council of Biotechnologies Scientific Committee (fr) (HCB) concluded that Séralini 2009 "..presents no admissible scientific element likely to ascribe any haematological, hepatic or renal toxicity to the three re-analysed GMOs."[23] Food Standards Australia New Zealand had a similar result.[24] The HCB also questioned the authors' independence.[23]

A 2011 review by Séralini, using data from 19 published animal feeding studies and several animal feeding studies submitted for regulatory approval, continued to conclude that GM food had liver and kidney effects, and advocated for longer and more elaborate toxicology tests for regulatory approval.[25]

2012 paper[edit]

Main article: Séralini affair

On 19 September 2012, Séralini and his colleagues published a peer-reviewed paper funded by CRIIGIN titled "Long-term toxicity of a Roundup herbicide and a Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize" in Food and Chemical Toxicology (FCT).[26] It involved a two-year study of genetically modified corn and the herbicide RoundUp fed to rats.[27] At a press conference announcing his paper, Séralini emphasized the study's potential cancer implications. Photographs from the journal article of treated rats with large tumors were widely circulated in the press.[28] In November 2013, the FCT editors retracted the paper,[29] with the editor-in-chief saying that its results were inconclusive.[27][30] In June 2014 the text of the article was republished in Environmental Sciences Europe.[31]

With a few exceptions, the scientific community dismissed the Séralini study and called for a more rigorous peer-review system in scientific journals.[32]

After Séralini published his 2012 corn study in parallel with a book and a documentary called Tous Cobayes !, various French Academies wrote a common bulletin expressing a number of concerns related to the study. The bulletin criticizes the science behind the study, questions the ethics of the study's authors and the standards of the publishing journal (Food and chemical toxicity), and states concern over the social consequences of what the bulletin's authors perceive to be scaremongering in the area of GMOs. Signatories of the bulletin included the Académie d'agriculture de France, Académie nationale de médecine, Académie nationale de pharmacie, Académie des sciences, Académie des technologies and Académie vétérinaire de France.[33]

Recent work[edit]

In May 2013, shortly before a debate was scheduled to take place on the topic of genetically modified foods, held by the libertarian think tank Cato Institute, both Séralini and consumer activist Jeffrey M. Smith withdrew from the debate. Smith disapproved of the planned inclusion of molecular biologist Kevin Folta and Séralini accused Jon Entine, who organized the debate's panel, of libel.[34]

In 2014, Séralini et al. published a study claiming that pesticides were more toxic than regulatory bodies had previously thought.[35][non-primary source needed] The study prompted Ralf Reski, one of the editors of BioMed Research International, the journal in which it was published, to resign. Reski said, "I do not want to be connected to a journal that provides [Séralini] a forum for such kind of agitation."[36]

Various journalists criticized Séralinis strategy towards the public, since he asked media to sign a non-disclosure-agreements before the publishing and tried to interdict requests to other scientists. The publication strategy overall has been deemed flawed and questionable again, as it connected allegedly flawed scientific studies, various publications, books and films in parallel while trying to silence scientific and public debate in a broad political campaign of questionable value.[3][37][38]

Supporters and funding[edit]

Gilles-Eric Séralini has published various studies and a book Nous pouvons nous dépolluer (We are able to detox ourselves, 2009) claiming certain plant based pharmaceuticals based on homeopathy were being able to decrease poisonous influences.[39] The related lab received funding from Sevene Pharma to study the detoxifying capacity of their plant extracts on Roundup residues, bisphenol A and atrazine. Séralini participated and received payment for a lecture in a two-day seminar organized by Sevene Pharma.[40]

In 2010, Séralini sued University of Paris VII Marc Fellous (fr), president of the French Association of Plant Biotechnology (fr) and the Association, for libel, claiming that they had unjustly criticized his scientific ability and his research because of its funder, Greenpeace. The judge ruled that because Fellous and other critics had financial ties to the agricultural biotechnology industry, their charge about the Greenpeace funding was defamatory, but refused to rule on the scientific matter. Fellous was fined 1000 euros. Séralini was awarded a symbolic 1 euro in damages and court costs.[41]

Awards and honors[edit]

  • Prix Denis Guichard 2001, for his GMO studies.[42]
  • Chevalier de l’ordre national du Mérite, for 16 years of service in the public authorities.[43]
  • In 2015 Séralini was awarded the "whistleblower" award by the Federation of German Scientists and the German branch of the International Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms ILANA.[44] An opinion piece in the German weekly Die Zeit commented that Séralini has been become completely discredited in science. The title used the word Pfeife (both whistle and moron in German) instead of whistleblower. He was being deemed "an anti-GM activist" leading a campaign "by questionable means".[45] The ETH genetics researcher Angelika Hilbeck, a strong supporter of Séralini[46] was among the jury of the prize and is as well[47] member of the scientific council of CRIIGEN.[48]

Selected publications[edit]

Scientific papers[edit]

Books[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Guilhot, Alain (21 November 2012). "Gilles-Eric Seralini: The Rat Man" (PDF). LeMonde.fr. Retrieved 3 September 2013. 
  2. ^ "Pr. Gilles-Eric Séralini Président du Conseil Scientifique Enseignant Chercheur". CRIIGEN. 
  3. ^ a b Fischer, Interview: Lars. "Gentechnik: "Aus nicht haltbaren Versuchen wird eine politische Kampagne"". ZEIT ONLINE. Retrieved 2015-12-16. 
  4. ^ Laure Noualhat for Libération. October 19, 2012. Gilles-Eric Séralini. OGM pas du tout. Via Google Translate, English translation
  5. ^ a b c "OGM : Gilles-Éric Séralini, un scientifique engagé et critiqué" (in French). lemonde.fr. 20 September 2012. 
  6. ^ Séralini, G. E.; Moslemi, S. (2001). "Aromatase inhibitors: Past, present and future". Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology. 178 (1–2): 117–131. doi:10.1016/S0303-7207(01)00433-6. PMID 11403901. 
  7. ^ Ces OGM qui changent le monde, Flammarion, 2010, quatrième de couverture.
  8. ^ a b "HH", CRIIGEN, 12 November 12, 2008 Profile, Pr Gilles Eric Séralini – President of the Scientific Board – Molecular Biology Professor
  9. ^ Carman, Tim (September 19, 2012). "French scientists question safety of GM corn". Washington Post. Retrieved May 20, 2013. 
  10. ^ Agence France-Presse. 19 October 2012, as posted on phys.org. Six French academies dismiss study linking GM corn to cancer (Update 2)
  11. ^ a b c Séralini, Gilles-Eric; Cellier, Dominique; De Vendomois, Joël Spiroux (2007). "New Analysis of a Rat Feeding Study with a Genetically Modified Maize Reveals Signs of Hepatorenal Toxicity". Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology. 52 (4): 596–602. doi:10.1007/s00244-006-0149-5. PMID 17356802. 
  12. ^ "GM maize MON863: French scientists doubt safety". GMO Compass. 16 March 2007. Retrieved 11 November 2010. 
  13. ^ Ananda, Rady (2010). "Three Approved GMOs Linked to Organ Damage" (PDF). Z Magazine. 23 (3). Retrieved 21 July 2010. The data 'clearly underlines adverse impacts on kidneys and liver, the dietary detoxifying organs, as well as different levels of damages to heart, adrenal glands, spleen, and haematopoietic system,' reported Gilles-Eric Séralini, a molecular biologist at Caen University. 
  14. ^ "Regulatory systems for GE crops a failure: the case of MON863" (PDF). Greenpeace. Archived from the original (PDF) on 30 March 2009. Retrieved 21 July 2010. Greenpeace demands an immediate and complete recall of MON863 from the global market. We also call upon governments to undertake an urgent reassessment of all other authorised GE products and a strict review of current testing methods. 
  15. ^ Statement of the Scientific Panel on Genetically Modified Organisms on the analysis of data from a 90-day rat feeding study with MON 863 maize [1]
  16. ^ European Food Safety Authority (2007). "EFSA review of statistical analyses conducted for the assessment of the MON 863 90-day rat feeding study". doi:10.2903/j.efsa.2007.19r. 
  17. ^ Les experts européens innocentent un OGM Le Figaro, 13 July 2007. Retrieved 27 October 2010 Archived 6 November 2014 at the Wayback Machine.
  18. ^ Les Organismes Génétiquement Modifiés, Annexe B. Avis de la commission du génie biomoléculaire sur l’étude statistique du CRIIGEN du maïs MON863 Report prepared for the French Prime Minister by the Centre d'Analyse Strategique, 20 July 2007. Retrieved 31 May 2013 Archived 13 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine.
  19. ^ "Review of the report by Séralini et al., (2007): "New analysis of a rat feeding study with a genetically modified maize reveals signs of hepatorenal toxicity"". FSANZ final assessment report. Archived from the original on 16 May 2009. Retrieved 11 November 2010. 
  20. ^ "FSANZ reaffirms its risk assessment of genetically modified corn MON 863". FSANZ fact sheets 2007. 25 July 2010. Retrieved 11 November 2010. 
  21. ^ De Vendômois, Joël Spiroux (2009). "A Comparison of the Effects of Three GM Corn Varieties on Mammalian Health". International Journal of Biological Sciences. 5 (7): 706–26. doi:10.7150/ijbs.5.706. PMC 2793308free to read. PMID 20011136. 
  22. ^ "EFSA Minutes of the 55th Plenary Meeting of the Scientific Panel on Genetically Modified Organisms Held on 27–28 January 2010 IN Parma, Italy, Annex 1, Vendemois et al 2009" (PDF). European Food Safety Authority report. Retrieved 11 November 2010. 
  23. ^ a b "Opinion relating to the deposition of 15 December 2009 by the Member of Parliament, François Grosdidier, as to the conclusions of the study entitled "A comparison of the effects of three GM corn varieties on mammalian health"". English translation of French High Council of Biotechnologies Scientific Committee document. Retrieved 11 November 2010. 
  24. ^ "Feeding studies and GM corn MON863". Food Standards Australia New Zealand. July 2012. Retrieved 10 October 2012. 
  25. ^ Séralini, Gilles-Eric; Mesnage, Robin; Clair, Emilie; Gress, Steeve; De Vendômois, Joël; Cellier, Dominique (2011). "Genetically modified crops safety assessments: Present limits and possible improvements". Environmental Sciences Europe. 23: 10. doi:10.1186/2190-4715-23-10. [non-primary source needed]
  26. ^ Vidal, John (28 September 2012). "Study linking GM maize to cancer must be taken seriously by regulators". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 8 May 2013. 
  27. ^ a b Butler, Declan (2012). "Hyped GM maize study faces growing scrutiny". Nature. 490 (7419): 158. doi:10.1038/490158a. PMID 23060167. 
  28. ^ "France orders probe after rat study links genetically modified corn to cancer". Agence France-Presse. September 20, 2012. Retrieved December 26, 2015. 
  29. ^ "Elsevier Announces Article Retraction from Journal Food and Chemical Toxicology". Elsevier. Retrieved 2013-11-29. 
  30. ^ Wallace Hayes A (2014). "Editor in Chief of Food and Chemical Toxicology answers questions on retraction". Food Chem. Toxicol. 65: 394–5. doi:10.1016/j.fct.2014.01.006. PMID 24407018. 
  31. ^ Cassasus, Barbara (25 June 2014). "Paper claiming GM link with tumours republished". Nature. Retrieved 31 August 2015. 
  32. ^ Martinelli, L; Karbarz, M; Siipi, H (February 2013). "Science, safety, and trust: the case of transgenic food.". Croatian Medical Journal. 54 (1): 91–6. doi:10.3325/cmj.2013.54.91. PMC 3584506free to read. PMID 23444254. 
  33. ^ Avis du 19 octobre 2012 Avis des Académies nationales d’Agriculture, de Médecine, de Pharmacie, de s Sciences, des Technologies, et Vétérinaire sur la publication récente de G.E. Séra lini et al. sur la toxicité d’un OGM
  34. ^ Entine, Jon (29 May 2013). "Anti-GMO Scientist Gilles-Eric Seralini, Activist Jeffrey Smith Withdraw from Food Biotech Debate". Forbes.com. Retrieved 4 September 2013. 
  35. ^ Mesnage, Robin; Defarge, Nicolas; Spiroux de Vendômois, Joël; Séralini, Gilles-Eric (2014). "Major Pesticides Are More Toxic to Human Cells Than Their Declared Active Principles". BioMed Research International. 2014: 1–8. doi:10.1155/2014/179691. 
  36. ^ Kupferschmidt, Kai (10 February 2014). "Pesticide Study Sparks Backlash". Science Insider. Retrieved 16 March 2014. 
  37. ^ Kloor, Keith (2012-09-26). "GMO Opponents Are the Climate Skeptics of the Left". Slate. ISSN 1091-2339. Retrieved 2015-12-17. 
  38. ^ "From Darwinius to GMOs: Journalists Should Not Let Themselves Be Played - The Loom". The Loom. Carl Zimmer. September 21, 2012. Retrieved 2015-12-17. 
  39. ^ http://www.sevenepharma.com/actu-notre-etude-sur-la-prevention-dintoxication-des-cellules-hepatiques.html
  40. ^ Mesnage, Robin; Defarge, Nicolas; Rocque, Louis-Marie; Spiroux de Vendômois, Joël; Séralini, Gilles-Eric (2015-07-02). "Laboratory Rodent Diets Contain Toxic Levels of Environmental Contaminants: Implications for Regulatory Tests". PLoS ONE. 10 (7): e0128429. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0128429. PMC 4489719free to read. PMID 26133768. 
  41. ^ Vincent Olivier for L'Express. January 19, 2011. OGM: deux chercheurs au tribunal English translation
  42. ^ "Les lauréats de la Fondation Denis Guichard - Denis Guichard-Un nouveau regard sur le Vivant". fondationdenisguichard.com. Retrieved 2015-12-17. 
  43. ^ JORF Template:N° du 31 janvier 2008, page 1853, texte Template:N°, « décret du 30 janvier 2008 portant promotion et nomination ».
  44. ^ "(Full) Reasoning of the Jury − for the 2015 Whistleblower Award to − Professor Gilles-Eric Séralini" (PDF). Federation of German Scientists (VDW) and the German Section of the International Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms (IALANA). Retrieved 22 Oct 2015. 
  45. ^ Ulrich Bahnsen (8 October 2015). "Ausgezeichnete Pfeife". Zeit Online (in German). Séralini ist in der Wissenschaft zu Recht und zur Gänze diskreditiert 
  46. ^ "Gentechnik: Wie die Industrie die Forschung kontrolliert". www.woz.ch 07/2011. 2011-02-17. Retrieved 2015-12-17. 
  47. ^ http://www.vdw-ev.de/index.php/de-DE/detaillierte-informationen-zur-vdw/die-organe-der-vdw-beirat-und-vorstand
  48. ^ http://www.criigen.org/user/pdf/CV_Hilbeck.pdf

External links[edit]