Transgene flow in Mexican maize revisited: Socio-biological analysis across two contrasting farmer communities and seed management systems
Lopez, Flor R.
Nodari, Rubens O.
- Journal Article
Rights / licenseCreative Commons Attribution 4.0 International
The flow of transgenes into landraces and wild relatives is an important biosafety concern. The case of transgene flow into local maize varieties in Mexico (the center of origin of maize) has been intensively debated over the past 15 years, including legal, political, and environmental disputes fanned by the existence of a significant scientific controversy over the methods used for the detection of transgenes. The use of diverse approaches and a lack of harmonized methods specific to the detection and monitoring of transgenes in landraces have generated both positive and negative results regarding contamination of Mexican maize with genetically modified material over the years. In this paper, we revisit the case of transgene contamination in Mexican maize and present a novel research approach based on socio-biological analysis of contrasting communities and seed management systems. Two communities were used to investigate how different social and biological factors can affect transgene flow and impact transgene spread in Mexico. Our results show the presence of transgenes in one community and thus support the position that transgenes are highly likely to be present in Mexican maize landraces. However, our work also demonstrates that the extent and frequency with which transgenes can be found will significantly depend on the societal characteristics and seed management systems of the local communities. Therefore, we argue that future analysis of transgene presence should include social research on the seed management practices in the sampling area so that more robust and comprehensive understandings and conclusions can be drawn. Show more
Journal / seriesEcology and Evolution
Pages / Article No.
Subjectbiotechnology; genetically modified organisms; socio-biological analysis; transgene flow
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