Published today in Independent Science News: “Can the Scientific Reputation of Pamela Ronald, Public Face of GMOs, Be Salvaged?
Written by Jonathan Latham, PhD
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Synopsis:  When a quotable university expert is needed to speak on behalf of crop biotechnology, Pamela Ronald is the U.S. media’s professor of choice. Her credibility as a scientific pro-GMO expert derives from her long term research into diseases of rice at the University of California, Davis. But Pamela Ronald’s research career is coming to resemble a liability. In the past year Ronald has publicly retracted two original scientific papers based on research carried out in the laboratory she heads. These publications (including one from Science) formed the core of her plant disease research program. At the same time, German researchers have publicly raised substantive questions about a third Ronald publication.

Presumably because her scientific reputation is highly valuable to the biotech industry, a coordinated media campaign is underway to rescue it. Pamela Ronald and the campaign blame now-departed lab members from Thailand and Korea for the lab’s errors and Ronald is praised for initiating the retractions. The truth, however, is not so simple, and raises still further questions about the scientific validity of Pamela Ronald’s research.