The debate over genetically modified foods is rising to a new pitch following a decision by the British medical journal the Lancet to publish a controversial study suggesting that gene-altered potatoes may cause health problems in rats. In an unusual move, the editor of the journal has written a commentary revealing that a minority of the journal’s scientific reviewers considered the report unworthy of publication and that the publication accepted it in part to avoid accusations of covering up a public health threat. The research was conducted by Arpad Pusztai, formerly of the Rowett Research Institute in Scotland, who first revealed his findings during a television interview in August 1998, a move that made him a hero among anti-biotech activists but left him scorned by scientific colleagues.

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