Proper experimental design is the foundation of any scientific publication. However, a study is not so easy to plan, particularly when it includes methods that are expensive or that use tools that are hard to find. To make things more complicated, many studies are performed as part of a Master’s or Doctoral thesis, and the investigator gains skills and knowledge throughout the course of the experiment. By the time the study is done, the investigator sees parts she would have done differently.
Studies that involve animals are especially complex, since you cannot “redo” a failed experiment as easily as you can with in vitro or in silico assays. Criticisms by reviewers and editors can seldom be addressed during the peer review process: if an editor or reviewer identifies a flaw in an animal feeding study, it often cannot be redone due to resource constraints.
Poorly designed GMO feeding studies abound, quite possibly due to these difficulties in performing any animal feeding study. Such studies are often used by people who claim GMO are dangerous. It can be difficult to determine if a study has been properly designed and performed. We’ve put together a list to help you navigate through the messy world of GMO feeding studies.