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General Information

Document type
  • Peer-reviewed journal article
GE organism
  • maize
GE trait
  • insect resistance


  • positive effect
Safety for consumption
  • positive effect
Safety for environment
  • no effect

Genetically modified myths and realities Review Article Open Access

Parrott, W
New Biotechnology. 2010 November. 27(5):545–551

Link to full text (open access, freely available)

PMID: 20609417 DOI: 10.1016/j.nbt.2010.05.016 ISSN: 1871-6784


Myths abound when it comes to GE crops. At their worst, myths play an active role in discouraging the use of GE to solve problems that afflict humankind, such as malnutrition and birth defects. Of all the various myths, two have been particularly important in preventing the use of GE maize in its areas of origin. The first is that transgenic maize will contaminate and destroy land races, thus destroying biodiversity and its associated cultural traditions. This myth totally ignores the fact that the gene flow that has taken place between maize and its progenitor, between the land races, and between land races and modern hybrids, has not led to any dire consequences. The second myth is that crops are natural and have not been modified by humans, or if they have, that plant breeding does not alter DNA. This myth ignores the fact that for the most part, it is impossible to alter the appearance of crops without changing the DNA. In fact, DNA movement within the crop genome is normal and its movement leads to double-strand DNA repair, with results like those found around transgene insertion sites. In addition, plants have ways to create novel genes. These changes help plants adapt to evolution and to human selection. The net result is that changes similar to what happens during the production of engineered plants takes place anyway in plant genomes.


maize, land races, contamination, gene flow


Funding source
  • University of Georgia at Athens
Funding country
  • United States
Funding type
  • government

Publication history


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Cite this study


Parrott, W. "Genetically modified myths and realities." New Biotechnology 27.5 (2010): 545–551. Web. 23 Jul. 2024.


Parrott, W. (2010). Genetically modified myths and realities. New Biotechnology, 27(5), 545–551. doi:10.1016/j.nbt.2010.05.016

Please verify citations before use, citations are automatically generated based on information stored within the GENERA database and therefore may or may not be correct.