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corn diversity

Wayne Parrott wparrott at arches.uga.edu
Fri Oct 26 15:36:13 EST 2001

This is a great question.  Bottom line, new genes or alleles have been
contaminating Mexican corn ever since midwest-derived hybrids were
introduced into Mexico decades ago, and yet the Mexican landraces have
not lost their integrity.  The only difference is that a Bt gene is much
easier to detect than other alleles would be.

I asked the same question of Dr. Taba, from CIMMYT, who gave an
outstanding presentation on Mexican landraces at the Crop Science
meetings earlier this week.  His answer is that farmers exert strong
selection pressure for true-to-typeness in the land races, and that such
selection has kept the integrity of the land races all these years.  As
long as this selection pressure continues, the probability is low that Bt
will have a damaging effect.

Ed Coe wrote:

>  Forwarded to the maize net.
>  Ed Coe
>  sarah and marc imbert  <lesimberts at netpipe.com> wrote:
>  >I am student at the Monterey Institute of International Studies and
>  >I am presently researching the bt corn in Mexico.  From what I can
>  >gather, Greenpeace has announced that 15/22 tested areas have come
>  >up with bt corn.  I fully support maintaining biodiversity but what
>  >is the argument for those who support the ge strains?  Is there a
>  >way that the un-contaminated corn could be separated and cultivated
>  >indoors or in such a way as to preserve it?  That Mexican corn is
>  >contaminated can't really be news because it was inevitable as soon
>  >as the US started exporting corn to Mexico. Do you have any insights
>  >on this issue?  I can't read Spanish, unfortunately, but I am trying
>  >to track the history of this issue as it pertains to Mexico.  Thanks
>  >very much, Sarah Imbert

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