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what are the genes in genetically modified corn

Submitted by: Balch603


Expert response from Tom Eickoff

Agronomic Systems Lead, Monsanto Company

Friday, 03/27/2015 11:53

This is a good question and first, I would like to state that not all of the corn seed developed by Monsanto contains an inserted gene as some farmers prefer to plant conventional corn hybrids, and we continue to develop those seeds and make them available.  The ability to add specific beneficial genes to corn has enabled the use of additional tools to protect yield.  The type of genes that are added to genetically modified corn generally fall under three categories: herbicide tolerance, insect protection and drought stress protection.   


Farmers have the choice to purchase corn seeds that contain various combinations of these genes depending upon their individual needs.  Choices range from the single gene product CP4 for glyphosate tolerance in Roundup Ready ® products to the  products with seven genes: two genes for herbicide tolerance (CP4 for glyphosate and PAT for glufosinate), and multiple insecticidal proteins (Cry1A, Cry2Ab, Cry1F, Cry3Bb1 and Cry34/35Ab1), developed from the soil bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis, that provide season long control of corn rootworms and caterpillar pests like European corn borers, corn earworm, fall armyworms, as well as other key pests. 


Recently, we introduced a gene from another bacterium, Bacillus subtilis, to help the corn plant cells function more effectively when they are under stress enabling the plant to use water more efficiently during periods of drought stress.


A great resource for looking at all of the genes available in the various crops can be found at