Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Seralini Rat Study

Welcome to another edition of ASK BILL

Bill has been overwhelmed by the number of requests that he receives from people asking him a variety of questions related to science and scams that circulate on the Internet and elsewhere. To manage his time effectively, Bill has decided to do a weekly fun and educational "Ask Bill" segment.

Every Wednesday (or now whenever he has some extra time!), Bill will choose one question from his e-mails and answer another science or hoax question. Get your questions into him ASAP.

This week's question comes from a discussion on GMOs.

The person asked: "What about this study that showed rats getting cancer?"


What this person is referring to is the now infamous Seralini rat study, which much like the infamous Wakefield autism study, has been heralded as proof by the anti crowd. In scientific/reality arena though it's a constant annoying mosquito.

Here are a couple of problems with the study. First, it's been retracted:

It had problems with the kind of rodent chosen (which is prone to tumors in the first place), the number of rodents in each group (which was very small). Its conclusions have been deemed inconclusive.

One curious thing too is that the data shows something that counters what the anti-gmoers were trying to show. The data was showing a correlation that if you drink pure water, you have a 50% higher mortality rate than if one drank water contaminated with herbicide. Yeah, figure that one out!

 There was a question of ethics as well as Seralini let the tumors grow to an enormous size on the rodents, thus letting them exist in pain for an extended period of time. These animals should've been put to sleep long before they reached a point where tumors were the size of golf balls (which is huge when compared to the size of a body of a rat).

So if you see any website, meme, person using this study (which Seralini has now published in an open-access journal of little relevance or significance)to promote an anti-gmo stance it would be best to pass it off as nonsense. As I've always said, it's fine to hold a particular view, just make sure if you are trying to claim something that it's backed by good evidence and rational thought. Spouting problematic or false info doesn't help your cause.


*For over 30 years, Bill has been a professional magician and has traveled all across Canada, performing for all ages. Along with his passion for entertaining, Bill is an educator and life-long learner. He continues to study biology, psychology, neuroscience and chemistry.  Bill has also written many articles on science and scams for various blogs, newspapers and other publications.

Visit his business site, Nuvo Entertainment:

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