Three Chinese researchers sacked after failing to tell participants parents that rice was genetically modified
Golden rice, the ß-carotene boosted genetically modified (GM) rice, which it is hoped will help to prevent cases of childhood blindness, has suffered another setback. Chinese researchers were judged to have breached ethical guidelines when they ran a trial in which children were fed the GM rice.
The trial was designed to test how efficiently ß-carotene from the rice is converted into vitamin A once ingested with the results reported in August 2012. However, Greenpeace later raised the alarm in China when it became apparent that neither the parents or school teachers of the children taking part in the trial or the children themselves were aware they were eating GM rice.
The Ministry of Agriculture had previously assured the environmental group that golden rice would not be trialled in China because it hadn’t received a biosafety certification and researchers had not applied for permission to import the rice into the country. After learning that golden rice had been fed to these children, the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) launched an investigation that led to the sacking of three researchers: Yin Shi’an from the CDC, Wang Yin from the Zhejiang Academy of Medical Sciences and Hu Yuming from the provincial CDC in Hunan. Not only were the trio fired for violating regulations, but also for violating ‘scientific ethics and academic integrity’.