Said specialist assured that several researchers are against the planting of transgenic corn, because there is more and more scientific evidence on the potential damage to health and also to biodiversity, which in Foroambiental.com.mx we have already highlighted in miscellaneous items.
In addition, he emphasized that this practice is not necessary in Mexico, since the agricultural production of native grain covers the quantity requirements and nutritional needs of the population.
He recalled that the transgenic crop is one whose genetic material is modified, that is, genes from other organisms are inserted into the plant to give it characteristics that it does not have naturally. In different countries there are commercial products, especially corn, cotton or transgenic soybeans, to which information was introduced that makes them produce their own pesticide or be tolerant to chemical herbicides such as glyphosate.
However, the effects of transgene insertions in the genome and proteome of plants are not fully known, although there are studies that found alterations in the general expression of proteins in maize plants.
The academic indicated that those who oppose the use of this method do so because of the danger that transgenic varieties represent for the biodiversity of corn. In addition, the cultural, symbolic and economic part that it has for the peoples of Mexico cannot be ignored. González-Ortega highlighted that the more than 60 native varieties of corn constitute an enormous genetic wealth, which will serve to cover current and future genetic improvement needs.
He added that in the context of eventualities such as Climate Change, varieties adapted to conditions that can be considered extreme, would be an invaluable genetic reserve to generate tolerant hybrids. And he warned: "In Mexico, where corn arose and was domesticated, it cannot be allowed to destroy the biocultural heritage that it represents."
It should be noted that González-Ortega is currently monitoring and identifying transgenic sequences in foods made with corn (both traditional and those made in industries) and in seed samples collected in some states.
The specialist invited peasants and agricultural producers to have contact with the laboratory of the UNAM Institute of Ecology in order to analyze their crops and confirm that there are no transgenic sequences in their corn, which are often ancestral inheritance.
"Finding transgenes in native varieties could imply risks to biodiversity, human health and loss of food sovereignty," he said.
According to the researcher, this monitoring is important for nutritional, economic, cultural and historical reasons, since corn is the main food in Mexico, as some data indicate that the average Mexican consumes more than 500 grams a day in different presentations ( tortillas, atoles or tostadas). In addition, González-Ortega said that corn in traditional cuisine is characterized by being little processed, compared to industrialized foods.
Finally, the specialist mentioned that "with the assumption that Mexico is the country that consumes the most corn, and in the event that there is transgenic grain in food, this would imply a potential risk to public health."