Maize Genetics?

Hi everyone, Frank N. Foode™ here. For the past few years, we at Biofortified have usually had an Editor present at the Maize Genetics Conference each year. (Even when it was in Italy!) And I’ve been there, too – meeting and greeting. But next week when the 2012 Maize Meeting happens in Portland, Oregon, none of our editorial posse will be able to attend. But wait – Biofortified will still be there – in poster form! 🙂
We have arranged for a courier who will bring our poster to the conference for all to see, but can someone grant this ear of corn a little favor? It would be great if one of you who is attending the conference could stick around during the poster sessions to say a thing or two about the blog and what we do. Any takers? Please let us know in the comments or drop us a note on our contact page!
And maybe if the right person comes along, I may be able to join you for the conference. You’ll be famous by association! 😀 Hope to hear from you!


  1. Hi, I need someone to help me.
    Maine’s organic agency, MOFGA, has published yet another misinformed screed about non-certified-organic farming. You may read it here:
    The key passage is:

    Can avoiding residues of genetically engineered crops be far behind? Those residues include pesticides, especially of the herbicide Roundup, so widely used on Roundup Ready crops; and soon, if it’s permitted, of the herbicide 2,4-D from Dow Chemical’s genetically engineered 2,4-D resistant corn; and, in crops engineered to express it, the Bacillus thurnigiensis (Bt) toxin. Again, the Organic Trade Association cites a study by Quebec scientists who found the Bt toxin in 93 percent of maternal and 80 percent of fetal blood samples, and in the blood of 69 percent of non-pregnant women tested.

    I’m trying to write a response, (because I love the idea of being able to grow sweet corn without having to spray pesticides), and yet I have just about no time to write it. Most of my research into the Bt claim has begun with postings on here Biofortified because I’m somewhat familiar with it.
    If/when I finish my response, may I post it here for a proofreading/critique from other readers?
    I have the bane of having gotten an English major after it became clear to me that I did not have the mental discipline to be a scientist. Therefore, I’ve had to continually battle against delusions, such as the organic delusion, which I was part of for some time. I admit that my writing about it amounts to something of an obsession.

  2. Hi Mike. Not sure I can help you much other than to tell you I believe you’ll get far more exposure to something like 2,4-D walking down the garden isle in Walmart than you will from crop residues. I’m sure others would have a more comprehensive answer for you, though. And don’t knock the English degree. I would think this, in conjunction to your beginning experience with a small diverse farm, will provide you with a good set of tools to be an advocate for what you believe. You don’t need to trash everything involved in organic production, just the “woo” bits that surround the organic dogma.
    Can someone here explain why a 2,4-D GMO corn? I thought corn was already tolerant of 2,4-D, being a monocot. Why would one develop this?

  3. Tolerance but not totally resistant – literature suggests that environment and genotype come in to play but that you may see a lot of stalk bending, brace root proliferation and reduction in yield.
    On the development side – my guess is that it was developed intially for soybean, but given the relatively “plug and play” utility of herbicide tolerance mode of actions transfering it makes sense.

  4. Thanks. Interestingly, I was at a jam last night and was able to ask one of my fellow musicians about the ELISA test used to “detect” the Cry1Ab protein in pregnant women (this guy works for a lab that produces such tests). He said the ELISA test “wasn’t strong enough” to detect the protein in blood, but he wants me to send him the paper to help explain to me what it says. It’s cool having friends who work with such things.
    Also on “You don’t need to trash everything involved in organic production, just the “woo” bits that surround the organic dogma.” It’s my (new) view that once you get rid of the woo in organic farming, what you’re left with is just farming.

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