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 Bioinvasion on the rise
15.02.2017 | Universität Konstanz

nachricht Litter Levels in the Depths of the Arctic are On the Rise
10.02.2017 | Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung

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: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

From rocks in Colorado, evidence of a 'chaotic solar system'

23.02.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

'Quartz' crystals at the Earth's core power its magnetic field

23.02.2017 | Earth Sciences

Antimicrobial substances identified in Komodo dragon blood

23.02.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>