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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.

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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.

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Fact:

In-depth journalism that investigates the powerful takes real money and is so damn important right now.But it doesn’t take a Mother Jones investigation to know that billionaires and corporations will never fund the type of reporting (like they do politicians) we do that exists to help bring about change. Instead, our mission-driven journalism is made possible by people power, and has been for 46 years now since our founding as a non-profit.

In “TITLE TK” Monica Bauerlein writes about the perilous moment we’re in, and why it’s so important that we raise $325,000 by the time November’s midterms are decided so we can be ready to throw everything we have at the big issues facing the nation no matter what happens. Please help MoJo’s people-powered journalism with a donation today.

$400,000 to go!

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