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Biotech / Medical : Biotech Valuation
CRSP 54.64-3.0%3:59 PM EDT

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To: DewDiligence_on_SI who wrote (33026)1/15/2010 7:12:06 PM
From: A.J. Mullen4 Recommendations  Read Replies (3) of 51948

I just sold my Monsanto holding. It hurt to do it when it was down more than 6% for the week. A paper made me do it. A Comparison of the Effects of Three GM Corn Varieties on Mammalian Health, written by three French scientists who got hold of confidential studies performed by Monsanto. The data were obtained from the Swedush government and from courts in Denmark and Germany.

The authors lambast the Monsanto studies. They criticise the sample sizes, the brief duration, the physiological variables that were measured, and that measurements were taken only twice.

Only ten rats were used per group for the blood and urine analysis. As a result the statistical tests had little power. For example, if the GM food induced a variable to change by one standard deviation then there's an almost 50/50 chance that a T-test at 5% would fail to reject a null hypothesis that there was no effect. Only an egregious insult to the rats system was likely to be detected.

The experiments ran for 90 days. Not adequate to test for longterm effects. With just two moments sampled, it was impossible to look for trends.

The authors the extended the analysis of the raw data. They lost me in the details, but they claim that they show evidence for "physiological disturbance" in almost all rats fed GM food. They claim "signs of toxicity" rather than toxic effects.

The French scientists only considered selected variables. Maybe selection occurred after analysis? For me the important point is that the original data are not sufficient. That seems clear to me.

I think this is very unfortunate because I think GM food has tremendous potential and the Europeans are wrong to be so opposed to it. But it seems as if Monsanto got too easy a ride with regulators with these three products. If this blows up, it will make things difficult for a long time for Monsanto and GM in general.

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