Tools to determine the validity of genetically modified crop information

Page last updated: Thursday, 23 May 2019 - 11:31am

Please note: This content may be out of date and is currently under review.

There is a lot of information on genetically modified (GM) crops. The information below will enable you to distinguish science-based research on GM crops from non-science-based information.

There is a wealth of information on genetically modified (GM) crops. The six steps below provide guidance for the public to help distinguish science-based research on GM crops from non-science-based information.

  1. Examine the primary source of information. Is there a reference to the source of information? If not, it cannot be verified. If there is a source for the information, was it peer-reviewed? Use Google Scholar or another search engine to gain access to peer-reviewed information*.

  2. Check with the relevant industry organisation. If the information makes claims about a specific industry, go to the relevant industry organisations website to check for comments.

  3. Check with the relevant regulatory authority. Most countries have regulatory authorities that use science-based processes to regulate the use of GM organisms. If you find information related to a GM organism in a specific country go to that country's regulatory authority website to verify the information.

  4. Look for a plausible cause and effect relationship. In biological systems, a cause has an effect, for example, light makes plants grow by providing energy for photosynthesis. Look for a plausible link between the cause and effect in any information making claims about effects of GM organisms.

  5. Look for a dose response relationship. There are always dose response relationships in cause and effect biological systems, for example, a small amount of light causes less plant growth than a larger amount of light. Absence of a link between the dose and response means there may not be a cause and effect relationship and the information may not be reliable. Absence of a cause and effect relationship also indicates a lack of scientific rigour in the experiment.

  6. Review the background of the authors. Use Google Scholar or another search engine to check the qualifications of the authors**,  and to find if the authors have other publications on similar topics. If the authors are not scientists with other publications on similar topics, be cautious with their information.

It can be time consuming to check the scientific accuracy of information but the effort is worthwhile as it will help distinguish the science-based information from other information.

*Peer-reviewed articles have been read by several scholars in the same field and the scholars have decided the experiments and conclusions meet scientific standards and the publication is suitable for publication.

** Most journals list the qualifications of the authors after their names. Look for B.Sc, or Ph.D which indicate scientific qualifications.

Contact information

Genetic Modification Policy and Regulation