ngin - Norfolk Genetic Information Network

30 November 2001


1. biotech industry 'a bunch of crooks and shysters' - MP
2. Nature paper - Mexican maize

1. Biotech industry 'a bunch of crooks and shysters' - MP

report in Hansard of question to Leader of the House, House of Commons,
29 November 2001

Mr. Alan Simpson (Nottingham, South): May we have a debate on GM contamination? My right hon. Friend will be aware of this morning's news that contaminated maize has turned up in a remote area of Mexico that is separated by some 60 miles and several years from the last recorded GM plantings in California. Given that the UK has paltry separation distances, that UK farmers cannot get insurance against GM contamination and that we have found ourselves consistently blocked from having a GM producer liability regime by the industry that wants to pursue the trials, could we have an urgent debate in order to dispel the public myth and criticism that UK policy is increasingly either in the pay or the pockets of a biotech industry that is currently driven by a bunch of crooks and shysters?


2. Transgenic DNA introgressed into traditional maize landraces in Oaxaca, Mexico

Nature 414, 541 - 543 (2001) © Macmillan Publishers Ltd.
Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management, University of California, Berkeley, California 94720-3110, USA

Correspondence and requests for materials should be addressed to I.H.C.

Concerns have been raised about the potential effects of transgenic introductions on the genetic diversity of crop landraces and wild relatives in areas of crop origin and diversification, as this diversity is considered essential for global food security. Direct effects on non-target species, and the possibility of unintentionally transferring traits of ecological relevance onto landraces and wild relatives have also been sources of concern. The degree of genetic connectivity between industrial crops and their progenitors in landraces and wild relatives is a principal determinant of the evolutionary history of crops and agroecosystems throughout the world. Recent introductions of transgenic DNA constructs into agricultural fields provide unique markers to measure such connectivity. For these reasons, the detection of transgenic DNA in crop landraces is of critical importance. Here we report the presence of introgressed transgenic DNA constructs in native maize landraces grown in remote mountains in Oaxaca, Mexico, part of the Mesoamerican centre of origin and diversification of this crop.

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