Concerns have been raised about the potential effects of transgenic introductions on the genetic diversity of crop landraces and wild relatives in areas of crop origin and diversification, as this diversity is considered essential for global food security. Direct effects on non-target species1,2, and the possibility of unintentionally transferring traits of ecological relevance onto landraces and wild relatives have also been sources of concern3,4. The degree of genetic connectivity between industrial crops and their progenitors in landraces and wild relatives is a principal determinant of the evolutionary history of crops and agroecosystems throughout the world5,6. Recent introductions of transgenic DNA constructs into agricultural fields provide unique markers to measure such connectivity. For these reasons, the detection of transgenic DNA in crop landraces is of critical importance. Here we report the presence of introgressed transgenic DNA constructs in native maize landraces grown in remote mountains in Oaxaca, Mexico, part of the Mesoamerican centre of origin and diversification of this crop7,8,9.
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We thank the Union de Comunidades Zapoteco Chinanteca (UZACHI) for access to their field laboratory, Y. Lara (Estudios Rurales y Asesoría, Oaxaca) for facilitation, A. King for Peruvian maize samples and CIMMYT maize germplasm bank for the historical control.
The authors declare no competing financial interests.
Supplementary information for Figure 2.
Sequences downstream from p-35S:
K1, 103bp identity with bp 60909-61028 of Genbank AF123535, Zea mays alcohol dehydrogenase 1 (adh1) gene (Genbank accession AF434754) .
A3, 99bp identity with bp 60918-61028 of Genbank AF123535, Zea mays alcohol dehydrogenase 1 (adh1) gene (Genbank accession AF434755).
A2, 381bp identity with bp 23403-23842 of AF090446, Zea mays cosmid IV.1E1 gag gene (Genbank accession AF434756).
A3, low scoring identity with Genbank AF023160, Zea mays starch synthase DULL1 gene (Genbank accession AF434757).
A2, 125bp identity with bp 49989-50126 of AF031569, Zea mays 22-kDa alpha zein (Genbank accession AF434758)B3, 293bp identity with bp 2402-2726 of AF050455, Zea mays gypsy/Ty3-type retrotransposon Tekay (Genbank accession AF434759).
Sequences upstream from p-35S:
K1, No significant homology with Genbank sequences (Genbank accession AF434760).
A2, No significant homology with Genbank sequences (Genbank AF434761).
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Quist, D., Chapela, I. Transgenic DNA introgressed into traditional maize landraces in Oaxaca, Mexico. Nature 414, 541–543 (2001). https://doi.org/10.1038/35107068
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