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C. Understanding the Scientific Downside of Biotechnology

Narrator: This is Science Today. The Mexican government has recently discovered that some of the country's native corn varieties have been contaminated with genetically engineered DNA. Dr. Norman Ellstrand, a professor of genetics at the University of California, Riverside, says this is a clear indication of how quickly genetic material can move from one place to another.

Ellstrand: I have focused on the question of whether transgenes - that is to say, engineered genes - will move from crops to their wild relatives through sexual reproduction. Then the hybrids will bear these transgenes and in some cases, the transgenes may be the sort of things we don't want to end up in a wild population.

Narrator: Such as corn produced with pharmaceutical or industrial compounds.

Ellstrand: Those corn plants will also be creating a lot of pollen and the pollen will go to other fields and if those other fields are for human or animal consumption, we may find ourselves or animals ingesting compounds that we may not want to ingest.

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