You rightly point out that the issue of genetically modified (GM) maize (corn) is more sensitive and complex in Mexico than in other countries (Nature 511, 16–17; 2014), but you owe readers a more in-depth and balanced view.

The rift in Mexico's scientific community over GM maize is not directly related to the legal challenge you discuss. It is a result of the commercial push to plant GM maize before the benefits and risks, and the costs to Mexican society, have been fully assessed.

The possibility of producing maize that is tolerant to drought and frost, a claim you report from government-funded researchers, could indeed help to restore Mexico's capacity for growing its own maize. However, commercial cultivars in Mexico (25% of total area) have limited reach, even after more than 60 years of breeding (see, for example, S. Brush and H. Perales Agr. Ecosyst. Environ. 121, 211–221; 2007). More than two million households rely on traditional landraces for food security (H. Eakin et al. Dev. Change 45, 133–155; 2014), and the global prevalence of insecticide-producing and herbicide-tolerant GM products is at more than 98% after almost 20 years (see These factors mean that such claims need to be realized and qualified if they are to be taken seriously.

Those seeking commercial acceptance of GM maize still need to convince key groups in Mexican society, including scientists, that the benefits of planting it will outweigh the risks and social costs. There is more to maize in Mexico than productivity and business, and it is not only scientists and seed companies who have rights.