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Nature published a paper last year claiming that transgenic DNA had become genetically incorporated into wild varieties of maize in Mexico (see GM maize found 'contaminating wild strains in Mexico)

But doubts about the scientific validity of the research led the journal to withdraw its support for the study in April, concluding that there was insufficient evidence to justify its original publication of the paper (see Nature backtracks over GM maize controversy ).

In a letter published in this week's issue of Nature, Andrew V. Suarez of the University of California argues that "by taking sides in such an unambiguous manner, Nature risks losing its impartial and professional status".

And in another letter, Kenneth Worthy and colleagues from the University of California say that editorial note disavowing the research was "unorthodox and unnecessary"

Reference: Nature 417, 897 (2002)

Link to letter in Nature by Andrew V. Suarez
Link to letter in Nature by Kenneth Worthy, Richard C. Strohman and Paul R. Billings
Reply in Nature by Matthew Metz and Johannes Fütterer
Reply in Nature by Nick Kaplinsky

Photo credit: CGIAR/CIMMYT