The experiment which occurred in June 2008, took place at the Central Primary School of Jiangkou Town, Hengyang in the Hunan Province and was run by a Chinese-born scientist from Tufts University in the US, and two Chinese researchers, one from the China CDCP and one from the ZAMS.
The purpose of the study was to examine the rate of vitamin A uptake in Chinese children fed with the genetically modified golden rice, enhanced to produce beta carotene. Tufts University launched an internal investigation and this week the University released the findings into the actions of the lead investigator, Guangwan Tang.
Prevailing Chinese laws mandates that human experiments using GM rice should be strictly examined and approved by the agriculture and health authorities. In this case the children’s parents did not receive any information about the use of GM rice and were cajoled into signing an agreement. Fraud also appears to play a major role as the scientists fooled the ethics committee by using a false official stamp.
Tufts concluded that “while the study data were validated and no health or safety concerns were identified, the research itself was found not to have been conducted in full compliance with IRB [institutional review board] policy or federal regulations.” The investigation also found that the dates on some consent forms may have been changed, while other forms may have been “inappropriately signed.” The lead researcher has been suspended for two years from conducting scientific studies.