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Open Access Correspondence

Comments on the paper "A statistical assessment of differences and equivalences between genetically modified and reference plant varieties" by van der Voet et al. 2011

Keith J Ward1*, Margaret A Nemeth2, Cavell Brownie3, Bonnie Hong4, Rod A Herman5 and Regina Oberdoerfer6

Author Affiliations

1 Syngenta Ltd, Jealott's Hill, Bracknell, Berks, RG42 6EY, UK

2 Monsanto Company, 800 N. Lindbergh Blvd., St Louis, MO 63167, USA

3 P.O. Box 37160, Raleigh, NC 27627, USA (representing BASF

4 Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc., 2450 SE Oak Tree Court, Ankeny, IA 50021, USA

5 Dow AgroSciences LLC, 9330 Zionsville Road' Indianapolis, IN 46268, USA

6 Bayer CropScience AG, Industriepark Höchst K801, 65926 Frankfurt, Germany

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BMC Biotechnology 2012, 12:13  doi:10.1186/1472-6750-12-13

Published: 25 April 2012


van der Voet et al. (2011) describe statistical methodology that the European Food Safety Authority expects an applicant to adopt when making a GM crop regulatory submission. Key to their proposed methodology is the inclusion of reference varieties in the experimental design to provide a measure of natural variation amongst commercially grown crops. While taking proper account of natural variation amongst commercial varieties in the safety assessment of GM plants makes good sense, the methodology described by the authors is shown here to be fundamentally flawed and consequently cannot be considered fit for purpose in its current form.