Correspondence | Published:

Conflicts around a study of Mexican crops

Naturevolume 417page898 (2002) | Download Citation


Kaplinsky replies

I, on behalf of the authors of our Brief Communication2, state unequivocally that funding from TMRI has absolutely nothing to do with our criticisms. Worthy and co-authors are incorrect. Two of my co-authors of ref. 2 (Hake and Hay) do not receive any industry funding. Funding information for the Freeling lab (Braun, Freeling, Lisch and N. K.) is transparent and public (see; less than a quarter of it is from industry.

As Worthy et al. state, Chapela and Quist are “leading critics” of the TMRI agreement. Chapela is a board member of PANNA (, an advocacy group opposing genetically modified organisms (GMOs). It is a double standard to accuse us, but not Quist and Chapela, of a conflict of interest.

Our letter was a critique of poorly conducted and interpreted science and was not pro- or anti-GMO or industry. We simply corrected what we think is bad science. Even if we were in the pockets of industry, Quist and Chapela's published results4 would still be artefactual.

Additional information

Nature comments: It is highly unusual for Nature to publish a paper whose principal conclusion is shown to be not necessarily false but unsustainable on the basis of the reported evidence. The paper was not formally retracted by its authors or by Nature . In the circumstances, Nature considered it appropriate for the record to make clear to readers its revised view of its original decision to publish. The independence of our editorial decision-making from partisan anti- or pro-technology agendas and from commercial interests is paramount in our role as a journal. Editor, Nature


  1. 1

    Metz, M. & Fütterer, J. Nature 416, 600–601 (2002).

  2. 2

    Kaplinsky, N. et al. Nature 416, 601 (2002).

  3. 3

    Quist, D. & Chapela, I. H. Nature 416, 602 (2002).

  4. 4

    Quist, D. & Chapela, I. H. Nature 414, 541–543 (2001).

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  1. Department of Plant and Microbial Biology, University of California, Berkeley, 94720, California, USA

    • Nick Kaplinsky


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