Here’s some of the best news all year for non-GMO supporters. Frank Kutka is working to save our heirloom corn from cross-breeding with genetically modified corn. He’s been diligently at work for over 15 years now developing what he calls “Organic Ready” corn varieties that have the ability to block cross-pollination, thus eliminating Monsanto’s prevalently grown GMO corn from infesting organic farmer’s crops.
“We need corn that organic farmers can grow without fear of GMO contamination,” says Kutka, who is in the fourth year of a five-year breeding project funded by the Organic Farming Research Foundation.”
Needless to say, Kutka, like all farmers growing organic crops, faces an enormous challenge. U.S. farmers currently plant millions of acres of GMO corn, among other GMO crops. Around 93% of the year’s corn crop was genetically modified.
While this makes Monsanto happy, it leaves those looking for non-contaminated, heirloom, organic, non-GMO corn a little miffed, to say the least. These millions of acres of corn can also easily contaminate other crops — including those which are not even corn, just because mother nature continues to work. GMO genes cross over into other plants, causing them to contain variant DNA like the mother plant. This is many argue that GMO crops must be banned, and that GMO labeling simply isn’t enough.
Kutka’s research concentrates on gametophytic incompatibility to protect his organic corn. By focusing on naturally occurring traits and the ancient grain teosinte that make it difficult for GMO pollen to enter the corn silks, thus preventing cross-pollination, he hopes to make his corn incompatible with GMO cross-breeding.