A study, carried out in China, where Chinese schoolchildren were fed genetically modified rice, has been condemned as 'unethical' and the Chinese scientists behind the study have been sacked.
In August 2012 the results of a U.S. funded study were published. In the study school children in China were fed genetically modified (GM) rice without their knowledge or by gaining consent from their parents. The publication of the study was generally condemned because of the violation of ethical guidelines.
Following an official investigation, the Chinese Center for Disease Control (CDC) has now dismissed the study’s three China-based authors and offered financial compensation to the parents of the children involved.
Quoted by Science Insider, Huang Jikun, director of the Chinese Academy of Sciences' Center for Chinese Agricultural Policy in Beijing, said: “This is an alarm bell for biotech scientists on the importance of strictly following ethical and other regulations on research."
The CDC said that the informed consent forms signed the parents of the children did not mention the GM rice.
The study had been funded by US National Institutes of Diabetes and Digestive Diseases and the US Department of Agriculture. The aim of the study was designed to find out how efficiently β-carotene in GM Golden Rice is converted into Vitamin A, of which there is a worldwide deficiency.