Safe sex for plants

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.


Researchers have developed a type of corn that resists picking up genes from foreign strains, reports NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC NEWS. The new technique means traditionally-bred corn can be guaranteed not to carry genes from genetically modified corn — good news for wary consumers and farmers trying to sell into GMO-unfriendly markets.

Recent Must Reads

11/25 – The triumph of ‘wealth porn’

11/23 – Depleted uranium suit possible

11/22 – Thanks(giving) for nothing

11/21 – Shell wins greenwashing award

Corn plants are notoriously promiscuous, swapping genes with neighboring cornfields by way of wind- and insect-borne pollens. But teosinte, a close relative of maize, virtually never picks up genetic traits from corn even when the two are grown close together. It turns out a cluster of genes in teosinte creates a molecular barrier that locks the foreign genes out.

Using traditional breeding techniques, researchers have introduced the barrier-forming gene cluster into corn, creating hybrids that are resistant to contamination. Commercial quantities of seed should be available within three years.

FOLLOW THE MONEY

Corporations and billionaires don’t fund journalism like ours that exists to shake things up. Instead, support from readers allows Mother Jones to call it like it is without fear, favor, or false equivalence.

And right now, a longtime friend of Mother Jones has pledged an incredibly generous gift to inspire—and double—giving from online readers. That's huge! Because you can see that our fall fundraising drive is well behind the $325,000 we need to raise. So if you agree that in-depth, fiercely independent journalism matters right now, please support our work and help us raise the money it takes to keep Mother Jones charging hard. Your gift, and all online donations up to $94,000 total, will be matched and go twice as far—but only until the November 9 deadline.

$400,000 to go: Please help us pick up the pace!

payment methods

FOLLOW THE MONEY

Corporations and billionaires don’t fund journalism like ours that exists to shake things up. Instead, support from readers allows Mother Jones to call it like it is without fear, favor, or false equivalence.

And right now, a longtime friend of Mother Jones has pledged an incredibly generous gift to inspire—and double—giving from online readers. That's huge! Because you can see that our fall fundraising drive is well behind the $325,000 we need to raise. So if you agree that in-depth, fiercely independent journalism matters right now, please support our work and help us raise the money it takes to keep Mother Jones charging hard. Your gift, and all online donations up $94,000 total, will be matched and go twice as far—but only until the November 9 deadline.

$400,000 to go: Please help us pick up the pace!

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate