The presence and levels of transgenic maize in Mexico and the effect this could have on local landraces or closely related species such as teosinte has been the subject of several previous reports, some showing contrasting results. Cultural, social and political factors all affect maize cultivation in Mexico and although since 1998 there has been a moratorium on the commercial cultivation of transgenic maize, Mexico imports maize, mainly from the USA where transgenic cultivars are widely grown. Additionally extensive migration between rural areas in Mexico and the USA and customs of seed exchange between farmers may also play an unintentional role in the establishment of transgenic seed. A comprehensive study of all Mexican maize landraces throughout the country is not feasible, however this report presents data based on analysis of 3204 maize accessions obtained from the central region of Mexico (where permits have never been authorized for cultivation of transgenic maize) and the northern region (where for a short period authorization for experimental plots was granted). The results of the study confirm that transgenes are present in all the geographical areas sampled and were more common in germplasm obtained in the northern region. However, there was no evidence that regions where field trials had been authorized showed higher levels of transgene presence or that the morphology of seed lots harboring transgenic material was significantly modified in favor of expected transgenic phenotypes.
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- Large scale sampling
- Maize landraces