In November, , scientists David Quist and Ignacio Chapela published a much-cited article in the journal Nature (Quist and Chapela ). Investigating the. Ignacio Chapela (born ) is a microbial ecologist and mycologist at the University of California, Berkeley. He is best known for a paper in Nature on the. letters to nature. NATURE |VOL |29 NOVEMBER | David Quist & Ignacio H. Chapela. Department of Environmental Science, .

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The Case of Mexican Maize

People have reacted defensively: A hallmark of good science is in asking exploratory questions – just as we were doing. He even suggested that the mixing bature contribute usefully to the diversification of domestic plants quoted in Dreesmann Third, using a novel analytical approach to genetic and biogeographical inference, we resolve for the first time the most probable migratory route behind the well-known vicariance pattern observed between the Eastern United States and S-E Asia.

With chapsla manuscript we establish several new concepts in the field of coevolutionary biology of fungi. Chapela has also spoken naturf against the deal between UC Berkeley, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaignand British Petroleum to research the development of biofuels, which may involve genetically engineering microorganisms and plants.

And unfortunately, when a particular branch of science becomes politicised, it becomes a hot potato that scares others away from working in the field.

Who we are

In order to remove the contamination from the Oaxaca Valley, farmers would not be able to plant maize for at least a year, which would be a devastating blow to the local economy. The second statement was more exploratory and used a new technique called inverse PCR that allows us to look more specifically at where in the plant’s genome the transgenic DNA is located.

These were all indigenous-run projects with the ideas and initiatives coming from the communities themselves. We are seeking to construct the first-ever geographical-scale maps of airborne genetic materials originating from milpas in the Valley of Mexico. His current research goal nnature to study gene flow between maize landraces and the teosintes their wild relatives in Mexico, and use this information together ibnacio population genetics models to evaluate the impact of this gene flow on the distribution of maize genes including human-inserted transgenes over time.

This short note marks the published beginning of a project I have been developing since as a comparative approach to valuation of biological resources.

A response to a proposed initiative for global conservation. It is the standard tool for GMO identification used by regulatory agencies throughout the world for accepting or rejecting shipments of GM-free grain. From Iowa to Oaxaca: We applied simple methods typical of microbial ecology to a critical question of policy relevance. In this article, we provide molecular evidence of the presence of transgenic DNA in genomes and geographical regions where it was not supposed to occur. First, cbapela the basis of a study with unprecedented precision in sampling and analysis, we show that a consistent difference between ectomycorrhizal and saprotrophic fungi in terms of stable isotope ratios is due more to substrate than to intrinsic processing.


Easy passage for the Bt gene Maize is the most important crop in Mexico. And the whole biotech ideology is strongly supported by the powerful United States government with its subsidies, its export policies, and its lack of natture concerning GM-crops and GM-food.

To its credit, the government is doing follow up work to look at the scale of transgene contamination around the country, but natue has yet to employ any kind of strategy to try and manage cbapela or ascertain its significance. The second is the unresolved questions related to liability and intellectual property issues. A mycologist by training someone who studies fungushe made the discovery about the contamination of maize varieties in Mexico quite inacio chance.

Home about people projects.

Not so for microbes, where a given organism can take multiple shapes for example filamentous fungi turning into yeasts and viceversa; spores of various kinds can lead to multiple variations on the hyphal theme, and so onand indistinguishable cellular structures can belie quite different phylogenetic and ecological characters. By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

In the late s, Chapela did his PhD dissertation research at Cardiff University on the ecology of microbial wood-rotting fungi.

This highly reductionistic work is nonetheless very important for a wide variety of other fields, since the determination of the natural distribution of stable isotopes in the environment has become a tool of choice for studies ranging from nutrient processing to global change.

Monasterio suspects that about one-third of this amount is GM-corn. The methods used a combination of traditional soil analysis, stable- and radioactive isotope analysis and DNA-based microbial community characterizationand indeed the concepts behind this manuscript are novel and of very large significance, since plantations of this type are now being planted over extremely large areas globally. What are the implications of your work for farmers in Mexico, and small farmers in particular?

Born as first-generation Mexico Cityan from natjre mix, common to that country, of indigenous, indigenized and immigrant stocks. One question that came up for them was whether GM crops were an issue they should be concerned about. Science that doesn’t tow the line of the pro-biotech, “progress-via-technology” mindset is considered “bad science.


Perhaps the greatest advantage of viral marketing natire that your message is placed into a context where it is more likely to be considered seriously. For traditional ecologists, there was no question about the identity of the organism at stake: Since the study that was published in Nature, his work has become more focused on transgene ecology – ie how genes move about in the environment.

Arguments that are based igncio factual evidence and suggest the negative impact of GM-crops are suppressed in the scientific debate. GRAIN is a small international non-profit organisation that works to support small farmers and social movements in their struggles for community-controlled and biodiversity-based food systems. We wanted, and expected, a strong reaction, but not in the way it came.

Indeed, my desire to gain closer precision on techniques used in this paper spawned a new line of research in the microbial processing of stable C isotopes in my laboratory and elsewhere in the world.

In the case of maize, who is asking the questions about the implications for farmers, human health, and global food systems?

Heaf, David and Johannes Wirz, eds. You must be logged in to post a comment.

Ignacio Chapela

The food agency maize we tested was highly transgenic – its positive signal was as strong as our transgenic positive. Ignacio has worked as a biologist at various levels of commitment with a large range of institutions including: What are the biggest threats to them? But the world knows little about that. We needed a transgenic-negative control, and what better place than the highlands of Oaxaca, the birthplace of maize?

Also available at http: This ontology can make a new foundation for our scientific descriptions of nature in a way that also redefines the relation between science, ethics and politics. This is a clear confirmation of Quist and Chapela’s research. We propose connections between this emergent pattern and our own insight into the physiology of fractionation by fungi.

Ignacio Chapela born is a microbial ecologist and mycologist at the University of California, Berkeley.