|Genetic contamination: a serious problem?|
Maize comes originally from Mexico and Peru. Here the greatest diversity of maize cultivars and wild species can be found. This ‘centre of origin’ with its amazing genetic diversity is essential for the future of maize breeding and thus for world-wide food security. But this ‘centre of origin’ is already contaminated. A US-study shows that even in remote Mexican valleys local maize varieties contain genes from transgenic Bt-maize. “We were surprised by these results. We did not expect any such thing, and it’s most disturbing. What this means is that an entire species in its native state may soon become, in effect, genetically contaminated “ says scientist Ignacio Chapella from the University of California (USA), who’s team did this research. The Mexican study indicates that genes from transgenic plants can spread across geographic areas and between varieties more quickly than scientists had previously thought.
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