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17 April 2014 12:48 pm ,
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Officials last week revealed that the U.S. contribution to ITER could cost $3.9 billion by 2034—roughly four times the...
An experimental hepatitis B drug that looked safe in animal trials tragically killed five of 15 patients in 1993. Now,...
Using the two high-quality genomes that exist for Neandertals and Denisovans, researchers find clues to gene activity...
A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that humanity has done little to slow...
Astronomers have discovered an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a red dwarf—a star cooler than the sun—500...
Three years ago, Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University proposed that a warming Arctic was altering the behavior of the...
- 17 April 2014 12:48 pm , Vol. 344 , #6181
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Pusztai Fights Back With Royal Approval
14 June 1999 6:00 pm
Arpad Pusztai, the British scientist whose controversial studies triggered a furious debate over the safety of transgenic food but were criticized by a Royal Society committee, is fighting to save his reputation. Last weekend, he launched a Web site in an attempt to refute the committee's scathing conclusions.
Pusztai was suspended from his job at the Rowett Research Institute in Aberdeen, Scotland, last August, after saying in a TV documentary that transgenic potatoes could stunt rats' growth. Critics of genetic engineering seized on his words to prop up their case, and in February, an international group of scientists spoke out in his defense. But in May, six anonymous experts appointed by the Royal Society called the data "inadequate," because of flaws in the experiment's design and Pustzai's analysis (ScienceNOW, 18 May 1999).
On his new Web site, Pusztai responds by posting the entire text of the anonymous reviews, along with his own rebuttal and his correspondence with the Royal Society. He claims that the reviewers saw only internal documents that were prepared for study collaborators and didn't include details of experimental design or methodology; the material available to the panel wasn't fit, Pusztai claims, for the journal-style peer-review that the Royal Society undertook.
Meanwhile, the beleaguered scientist has an influential new defender. Last week, Pusztai met the Prince of Wales, who has recently become a leading voice in the British campaign against transgenic foods. According to Pusztai, Prince Charles told him he had been treated cruelly by the scientific establishment and deserved an apology. Charles's office refused to confirm the content of the meeting. "It's ironic" that royalty will step in when the government fails to respond to the wishes of its citizens, says Pusztai.