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Roundup Ready Corn

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Roundup Ready Corn
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     Roundup is a herbicide that kills any plant that it touches. Roundup Ready corn contains a modified EPSPS gene from corn. This modified maize EPSPS protein differs from the wild maize by two amino acids. This protein has a low affinity for glyphosphate when compared to the wild-type EPSPS enzyme. When a corn plant expresses EPSPS and are treated with glyphospahate they are not affected. The continued actions of tolerant EPSPS enzymes provides the plants with aromatic acid.
 
     Roundup Ready Corn was made using particle acceleration technology with linear DNA fragment of a plasmid carrying mepsps gene. It was developed by Monsanto Company and DEKALB Genetics Corporation.
 
     Roundup Ready Corn is tolerant to glyphosate, which is the main ingredient in the herbicide Roundup. Glyphosate stops the enzyme EPSPS which is critical in the shrimic acid pathway for biosynthesis of aromatic amino acids in plants, such as corn. This leads to no growth in the plant. Roundup is not harmful to mammals, avian or aquatic animals because they don't have aromatic amino acid biosynthesis pathways. Therefore Roundup has low human health and environmental risks when it is used appropriately. Glyphgosate is also not considered carcinogenic, mutagenic or tetatogenic by the World Health Organization.
 
     When Roundup Ready Corn is planted the farmer controls the weeds by spraying Roundup. Since the corn is resistant it is unaffected while the weed is killed. Glyphsate works by inhibiting EPSP synthase that plants need to grow. Without it plants can't produce other proteins needed for growth. This causes the plant to turn yellow and die in several days or weeks. Since most plants use EPSP synthase it will kill almost all plants. Roundup Ready Corn produces an enzyme that does the same functions as EPSP snthase but is not stopped by glyphsate.
 
     There is polarized and conflicting information regarding it's safety. This could be in part to the fact that Monsanto holds a monopoly on this product.
    

Created by: Heidi 2005