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Mexican academic dismisses GMO contamination discovery

(Dec. 3, 2001 CropChoice opinion) The fact that researchers found transgenic contamination of native land races of corn in Mexico is no reason to panic, said Mr. Luis Herrera Estrellita, Ph.D. of the Center for Research and Advanced Studies of the National Polytechnic Institute, Irapuato Unit.

The gist of his statement seemed to be that conventional hybrids have crossed with indigenous varieties over the years without harming the diversity of maize. Such a dismissive attitude is problematic. Maybe this discovery will prompt action on the issue of contamination of native corn, be it transgenic or otherwise.

Meanwhile, across the Atlantic in the United Kingdom, genetically modified canola was found growing on 15 acres in a field used earlier in the year for a government-sponsored biotech crop trial.

The concern is that the transgenic canola will cross-pollinate with nearby conventional and wild varieties. The government supposedly will investigate.