In September 2012, Gilles-Éric Séralini and his colleagues’ alarmist article on the consumption of a GMO-type maize in the scientific journal Food and Chemical Toxicology was illustrated with monstrous tumours in rats, triggering a worldwide media wave, political reactions and a huge shock among scientists. Although it was gradually discredited, retracted from the journal, and finally refuted after scientific studies financed by French and European public subsidies, Séralini’s publication and its method of mediatisation (notably, before publication with unusual conditions imposed on journalists who were banned from submitting the publication for critical opinions) will mark the history of conflicts that can arise between scientific research processes and their media, political or social reception.

This study was written by Marcel Kuntz, Research Director at the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), Professor at Grenoble-Alpes University, 2017 gold medal recipient from the French Academy of Agriculture.