Crop Biotech Update

Conventional Backcrossing Practices Affect Grain Composition of GE Maize Hybrids

November 11, 2015

A study published in Transgenic Research shows that differences in grain composition of GE maize hybrids and its non-GE counterparts are more likely due to backcrossing practices instead of the GE trait.

In the study, the researchers generated four paired GM trait-positive (NK603: herbicide tolerance) and trait-negative near-isogenic inbred male lines which were crossed with two different females to create a series of trait-positive and trait-negative hybrids. The F1 hybrids and the corresponding non-GE comparator hybrids were grown concurrently at four field sites. The grains were subjected to composition analysis in terms of proximates (protein, starch, oil) amino acids, fatty acids, minerals, tocopherols, beta carotene, phytic acid and raffinose.

Results of the statistical analysis showed that within each hybrid tester set, there were very few significant differences between the paired trait-positive and trait-negative hybrids or between the conventional comparators and the trait-positive or trait-negative hybrids. Furthermore, results implied that location, and the tester used in hybrid formation, had more impact on the composition than did the GE trait.

Read the research article in Transgenic Research.