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C. StarLink: The Controversial Biotech Corn Variety

Narrator: This is Science Today. Nearly eighty U.S. seed companies have found corn seed contaminated with traces of a biotech variety known as StarLink, which had been associated with an earlier nationwide recall of taco shells. Norman Ellstrand of the University of California, Riverside, is an expert in the field of trangenics.

Ellstrand: Now, how did the StarLink gene get into the traditionally bred corn? It's possible that the seeds were mixed, it's possible that there was contamination in the equipment that was used to evaluate this, but it's also possible that hybridization between StarLink that was being grown by thousands of acres occurred with traditionally improved crops.

Narrator: The FDA approved of StarLink only for animal consumption because there's question about its potential to cause allergies in humans. But Ellstrand says there's no reason for great alarm.

Ellstrand: The StarLink protein is probably not one that's going to cause a lot of problems, but it sets a bad precedent for our ability to keep track of genes.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.