Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Journal Retracts Support for Claims of Invasive GM Corn

08.04.2002


The journal Nature has announced that a report claiming that genetically engineered DNA had found its way into wild Mexican corn should not have been published. The announcement, unveiled online last Thursday, came with two critiques of the study and a rebuttal by its authors. Though they are not retracting the original article Nature editor Philip Campbell states that the journal has decided to make the circumstances surrounding it clear and "allow our readers to judge the science for themselves."



The paper in question, by David Quist and Ignacio H. Chapela of the University of California, Berkeley, appeared in the November 29, 2001 issue of the journal. In it, the team reported that native corn from the southern Mexico state of Oaxaca contained genetically modified material, despite a country-wide ban on engineered corn since 1998. They further posited that the genes spliced into the plants were unstable and scattered around the genome in unpredictable ways.

It was this second conclusion that provoked the most reproach. "The discovery of transgenes fragmenting and promiscuously scattering throughout genomes would be unprecedented and is not supported by Quist and Chapela’s data," contend Matthew Metz of the University of Washington and Johannes Futterer of the Institute of Plant Sciences in Switzerland in the first criticism on the Nature Web site. They suggest that Quist and Chapela incorrectly interpreted results of a technique known as inverse PCR (i-PCR), which allows scientists to examine a stretch of unknown DNA that lies adjacent to an identified section. The technique, Quist and Chapela’s detractors say, is prone to artifacts and misinterpretation. "Transgenic corn may be being grown illegally in Mexico," Nick Kaplinsky of the University of California, Berkeley, and colleagues write in the second critique, "but Quist and Chapela’s claim that these transgenes have pervaded the entire native maize genome is unfounded."


Quist and Chapela disagree, however. In their rebuttal, they present new data and contend that it "confirms our original detection of transgenic DNA integrated into the genomes of local land races in Oaxaca." Yet they do concede that some of the concerns pertaining to the i-PCR technique--and hence the assertion that the foreign genes are dispersed around the genome--are well founded.

Consensus on this issue may well prove elusive, especially in light of the tempestuous debate already surrounding genetically modified foods and biotechnology. But further study is warranted because, as Kaplinsky and his colleagues point out, "it is important for information about genetically modified organisms to be reliable and accurate, as important policy decisions are at stake."

Sarah Graham | Scientific American

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Preservation of floodplains is flood protection
27.09.2017 | Technische Universität München

nachricht Conservationists are sounding the alarm: parrots much more threatened than assumed
15.09.2017 | Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Terahertz spectroscopy goes nano

20.10.2017 | Information Technology

Strange but true: Turning a material upside down can sometimes make it softer

20.10.2017 | Materials Sciences

NRL clarifies valley polarization for electronic and optoelectronic technologies

20.10.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>