Genetically modified (GM) corn won’t threaten native corn species in Mexico, according to a new report issued by the North American Free Trade Association (NAFTA).
In a country whose culture and identity revolve heavily around corn, or maize – the crop was first developed here thousands of years ago – the thought of imported GM varieties contaminating indigenous plants frightens many citizens, said Allison Snow, a co-author of the report and a professor of evolution, ecology and organismal biology at Ohio State University. Because of that fear, Mexico placed a moratorium on planting GM corn in 1998.
However, an estimated 30 percent of the corn that Mexico imports from the United States may be genetically modified, Snow said. The United States does not separate GM corn from non-GM corn, making it impossible for Mexican farmers to know if the grain they receive is genetically engineered or not. "Reliable unpublished data suggest that it is extremely likely that some GM corn is already growing in Mexico, whether it was intentional or not," said Snow, who is also an expert on plant-to-plant transmission of GM genes.
Allison Snow | EurekAlert!
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