Safe sex for plants

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


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.

Recent Must Reads

11/25 – The triumph of ‘wealth porn’

11/23 – Depleted uranium suit possible

11/22 – Thanks(giving) for nothing

11/21 – Shell wins greenwashing award

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.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest