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Genetically Engineered Corn

Starlink Corn
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What is Starlink Corn?

      Starlink corn is very much like Bt corn, as they both used proteins from Bacillus thuringiensis.  But the only difference was that Starlink corn had used a different protein, one that would kill the moth larvae just like Bt but this type would also slow down the potential evolution pest resistance of the insects to the corn.  This corn also expressed a somewhat higher amount of toxin in its tissues then other Bt corn.  Starlink corn also showed some characteristics of known allergens, such as heat stabile and resistant to stomach acids and enzymes.  Starlink corn still worked the same as Bt corn though, but was approved by the U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for animal feed but not to be distributed to humans until additional testing was completed.  The controversy began when small traces of Starlink corn was found in taco shells and other related corn products.  Even though there are already many varieties of Bt corn on the market, Starlink corn was still illegal to feed to humans.  The EPA had considered the Starlink corn a medium risk potential allergen because of the protein Cry9C.  The proteins was slow to digest, which suggested a concern, even though the protein’s amino acid sequence is not similar to known allergens.   So the risk of it becoming an allergen is low, and for people to become allergic to a protein they must be exposed to it multiple times over an extend period of time.  There had been reports of allergencity to products that may contain Starlink corn, but the cause of the allergencity is still uncertain.  Even though people did not show reactions to the protein, it does not mean that an allergic reaction could not develop in the future.  Subsequently the company producing the Starlink corn had voluntarily withdrew its registration for Starlink corn to be feed to humans, while at the same time no Starlink corn will be grown anymore.

Starlink Corn
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