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Corn, GM contamination and resistance

Corn, GM contamination and resistance


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By Aldo González Rojas

For the indigenous peoples of Mesoamerica, corn is our blood, our bones, our meat. Without corn we are nothing, a town without corn is a dead town; That is why we are not going to allow them to disfigure the corn, to take away its essence, to kill it, to kill us.

Corn, GM contamination and resistance

For the indigenous peoples of Mesoamerica, corn is our blood, our bones, our meat. Without corn we are nothing, a town without corn is a dead town; That is why we are not going to allow them to disfigure the corn, to take away its essence, to kill it, to kill us.

The contamination of corn discovered in the Sierra Juárez de Oaxaca, Mexico, at the end of the year 2000 by Ignacio Chapela and David Quist and confirmed in 2001 by the National Institute of Ecology of Mexico, is a regrettable fact that we cannot go unnoticed. It is a deep wound that puts the whole of humanity at risk and only benefits the large transnational corporations that want to impose on us a consumption model that privileges their interests.


Although since 1998 there was a moratorium that prevented the importation of transgenic corn seeds to Mexico, we consider that the main cause of contamination could have been the entry of corn grains for human consumption imported by the government food distributor called DICONSA, which sells food. basic in the rural regions of the country; as well as the yellow corn food aid that has been distributed in the north of the country. For indigenous and subsistence peasants in Mexico and around the world, there is no difference between grains and seeds, from either of the two a plant is born, so to say that grains are for eating and seeds are for sowing, is no more than an artificial difference.

Since the information on the contamination of native Mexican corn was made public, our organization and other indigenous, peasant and non-governmental organizations that participated in the Petate (Network) in Defense of Corn, we gave ourselves the task of carrying out actions of discussion and dissemination of the problem, in mountain communities and in other parts of Oaxaca and the country, due to the fact that the Mexican government tried to hide the information; For the year 2003, we carried out a sampling using commercial Agdia brand kits in eleven states of the Mexican Republic, through which we found the presence of contamination in nine states (the Mexican government only officially recognizes contamination in two states).

With the sampling, we found traits of BT Cry 1Ab / 1Ac corn, BT Cry 1C corn, BT Cry 9C Star Link corn (withdrawn from the food market in the United States because it is for animal consumption and causes allergies in humans), and CP4 EPSPS corn, resistant to Monsanto's Round Up Ready herbicide. In several plants we found combinations of two and even three different types of transgenics, and we also began to find plants with deformations or physical characteristics that were very different from native Mexican plants.

In Guelatao de Juarez, Oaxaca, we found a plant with the following characteristics: stem of about ten centimeters in diameter; seven levels of adventitious roots up to a height of 70 centimeters; broad and coarse leaves; height greater than four meters; two branches located more than two meters high, which contained six very thick cobs covered by leaves up to the tip, of which most only had one grain of corn and only two were partially loaded; spike partially covered with leaves and bent over. Likewise, in Chihuahua, transgenic plants with malformations in the spike similar to small ears were detected.

Some of the characteristics of these plants are native varieties of corn from different indigenous regions of the country, so we suppose that those who designed these plants first biopirated and then made them transgenic; but we have already assumed since then that some of its deformations may be the result of the production of new proteins originated by the introduction into corn of one or more transgenic constructions (pleiotropic effects), which affect the physical and chemical constitution of the plant and cause it deformations that were not foreseen by those who designed it.

In August 2005, researchers who worked for the National Institute of Ecology in 2001 published the research "Absence of detectable transgenes in peasant varieties of corn in Oaxaca, Mexico (2003-2004)", which concludes by saying that no contamination in the Sierra Juárez, although they clarified that this conclusion could not be extrapolated to other situations; However, this argument was used by Monsanto to say that the native Mexican corn was very strong and that by themselves they had eliminated the contamination, so that transgenic corn could be planted in Mexico without great concern, since nothing would happen.


In 2005, the Mat in Defense of Maize, sampled plants with deformations and continued to find the presence of transgenic traits in some of them. In some plots the presence of deformations was alarming; but we are also alarmed by the fact that no contamination was found in deformed plants, which makes us suppose that the methods to detect the presence of contamination (which were also designed by the same companies that produce transgenic seeds) are not working for generations. After the first and consequently the contamination is out of control for the scientific community, since it is invisible to their detection methods.

Among the deformations that we have managed to locate are the following: branches instead of ears, corn cobs together with the ear, corn hairs up to 20 centimeters long, corn stalks with 6 to 8 branches, up to eight corn kernels along the corn plant, vain ears, plants with two branches with several corn kernels on each one, jiloteso leaves on the spikes, multiple ears coming out of the same node, among others.

It should not be ruled out that some researchers affirm that maize suffers many alterations and it is probable that these physical characteristics do not necessarily correspond to malformations produced by being transgenic plants; However, independent researchers have also expressed their concern because they have not been able to detect the presence of known transgenic constructions by means of sophisticated laboratory tests already established, which leads us to suppose that transgenic constructions are unstable and may be mutating from generation to generation.

GMOs have genetic uniformity because their construction is based on multiplication from cloning, we all know that when two related living beings cross, hidden defects or malformations appear in the genes and it is likely that the deformations that have begun to be detected are product of that weakness. GM corn is not super corn, it can be susceptible to pests and diseases that could multiply rapidly when similar conditions are encountered in GM plantations around the world. The uniformity of characteristics in seeds can put food production at risk throughout the world; That is why we must not leave the food of the inhabitants of our planet in the hands of agribusiness and seed industries.

The indigenous peoples of Mexico know that the large number of varieties of corn that exist in our lands are an invaluable treasure that cannot be measured in money; That is why we are willing to fight so that the contamination of corn does not spread and we eliminate it from the places where it is found today. Our native corn is the future of our sons and daughters; of his sons and daughters and so on. Fighting to stop pollution is not only an economic question, it is also a question of dignity; That is why where there is an indigenous person with dignity, there will be a guardian of the corn, in his hands the corn will be safe. For those of us who have become aware of the problems of corn, planting and eating native corn are political acts against neoliberal globalization.

Indigenous peoples can proudly say that our corn has not hurt anyone, ten thousand years of practice show it, transnational companies cannot say the same.

* Aldo González Rojas, Zapotec of origin is Member of the Union of Organizations of the Sierra Juárez de Oaxaca (Unosjo). This article was published by Info GM of France.


Video: Genetically Modified Corn (May 2022).


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