GM crops—lessons from medicine

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Science  16 Sep 2016:
Vol. 353, Issue 6305, pp. 1187
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaj1764

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  • RE: GM crops—lessons from medicine

    Absence of evidence is indeed evidence of absence, after the search has been conducted.

    Those who cite 'absence of evidence is not evidence of absence' usually fail to distinguish the two states of knowledge to which it applies.

    Prior to an investigation, there is an 'absence of evidence' equal to ignorance. But *after* an investigation, there may still be an absence of evidence, but now it is a a statement from a point of knowledge.

    For example, it is true that there is an absence of evidence pertaining to the hazards of GMOs. That was true in 1983, but it was based on ignorance-- at that time, there had been no biosafety assessments of GMOs in the open environment. In 2016, the statement is still true, but based on knowledge and experience, from the thousands of biosafety experiments conducted in the meantime on every aspect of GMO biosafety.

    Competing Interests: None declared.

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