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2-Plants: Satellites to monitor (GE) corn pollen flow

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                                  PART I
-------------------------------- GENET-news --------------------------------

TITLE:  Satellites to monitor corn pollination
SOURCE: Daily Nonpareil, USA, by Greg Jerrett
DATE:   May 20, 2003

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Satellites to monitor corn pollination

AMES - The down-to-earth occupation of farming is about to get a boost
from scientific research that is out of this world.

With the help of a $30,000 grant from NASA through the Iowa Space Grant
Consortium, Iowa State University associate professor of agronomy Mark
Westgate is working on a project to use satellite images to document when
corn tassels emerge in a cornfield.

If it works, farmers and researchers in Iowa as well as the world will
have a very accurate resource to help them pinpoint the exact moments
when corn begins to shed its pollen, the pattern in which fields become
pollinated and if cross pollination occurs between varieties.

Because pollen is spread easily, knowing the time of pollination can help
researchers contain genetically-modified corn pollen to certain fields.

"We're testing whether NASA's satellites can help us manage corn
pollination by telling us when the corn plants start to shed pollen,"
Westgate said. "Once we have that information for a specific field, we
have tools to predict how much pollen is produced, where the pollen goes
and the probability of our genetically-modified field pollinating a
traditional field nearby."

Satellite pictures pick up reflections of light coming from the top of
cornfields. These pictures show researchers when corn tassels emerge.

Tests on the satellite angle and position are being conducted to help
Westgate determine which combination of light wavelengths the satellites
need to measure and when to measure them. A second set of tests will be
conducted this summer with the help of the Iowa Civil Air Patrol.

                                  PART II
-------------------------------- GENET-news --------------------------------

TITLE:  Pollination: GMO vs. non-GMO corn
SOURCE: Farm and Dairy, USA
DATE:   May 22, 2003

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Pollination: GMO vs. non-GMO corn

More GMO corn increasing risk of crop contamination.

COLUMBUS - With the production of genetically modified corn gradually
increasing in Ohio, the risk of contaminating non-GMO corn through
pollination is becoming more of a concern.

Peter Thomison, an Ohio State University Extension agronomist, said that
growers who produce pure genetic lines or organic grain are at the
forefront of the issue of "pollen drift."

"It's going to require a lot of coordination among growers to help
minimize pollen drift between GMO and non-GMO corn fields," said Thomison.

"Most of the corn growers in Ohio are not too concerned about whether
their corn is contaminated because most of the grain elevators will
accept GMO corn. It's IP (identity preserved) or organic growers who
might be concerned."

Identity preserved growers represent people using conventional corn
products or a GMO crop, but they are trying to grow a crop they can
guarantee to an end user is free of GMO events not approved in certain
overseas markets.

Organic growers, since GMOs are not approved in organic systems, have to
prove to the end user that the organic crop is not contaminated.

GMO 10 percent in Ohio. Thomison estimates roughly 10 percent of the corn
grown in Ohio is GMO, ranging from Bt corns that target the European corn
borer to herbicide-resistant corn like Roundup Ready to the new Bt corn
designed to control rootworms.

Since corn reproduces through cross-pollination, a certain percentage of
a corn crop is pollinated by neighboring plants.

"Maybe 20 percent to 40 percent of the ovules on that ear of corn may
have been pollinated from a neighboring plant, the result due mainly to
wind and gravity," said Thomison.

He said probably half of the pollen is going to be within the first 12
feet of the corn plants.

"At 40-50 feet away you are probably looking at around 1 percent of corn
to be contaminated."

Proving purity. Thomison said the issue of pollen drift is becoming a
growing concern in Ohio, not only with growers looking for pure crops,
but also with seed companies and grain elevators where GMO-contaminated
seed and grain may not be acceptable.

"Seed companies are concerned for purity reasons. They'll accept seeds
that are 99.5 percent hybrid X and 0.5 percent Y, but they usually won't
accept contamination levels exceeding 1 percent."

Some grain elevators won't accept GMO corn if a percentage of the grain
has been contaminated with a GMO event not approved by the European Union.

Confusing signals. There are varying levels of what's acceptable, said

Some grain elevators accept GMO corn regardless of what's in it because
it's all going to animal feed, but some grain elevators may decline a Bt
corn if it's been contaminated by an event not approved by the EU.

Growers plant corn with up to seven different GMO events, mainly Bt and
Roundup Ready events. Less than half of these crops have been approved by
the EU for use in Europe.



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