Join The GMO Corn Experiment!

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A photograph of one experiment. Copyright: Paul Fonder

Do squirrels and other wild animals avoid GMOs? If you open up your favorite search engine to find out an answer to this question, you will find that many people have been curious about this question. For so many people, it would be a simple question to test scientifically – if they had the right materials. Now Biology Fortified is happy to announce that hundreds of people, from adults to kids and schools can be a part of one massive scientific experiment to find out the answer to this question.

Genetically engineered crops, often just called GMOs, have been grown and eaten for 20 years. The topic of transferring DNA from one organism into another brings excitement in some and caution in others. There are many questions that have been raised about safety, environmental impact, and more, and study after study has been done and published to address those questions.

Now Google ‘GMO corn experiment’ or ‘GMO corn squirrels’ and you will find that some say that animals can sense something different about genetically engineered corn and avoid eating it if they can. Some people have even put this question to the test by doing their own experiment to find out! Ears of GMO and non-GMO corn have been placed side-by-side to find out if one ear gets eaten and the other does not.

The results of these anecdotal reports are mixed. Some report that the GMO corn is avoided, while others (including this video) report that there is no difference. Have there been any scientific studies that examine this question? Not one that I can find. That’s why we decided to do one, but we’re not going to do it on our own. We’re going to do this experiment with you – as the first ever Citizen Science experiment to test popular claims about GMOs!

The GMO Corn Experiment

We’re turning to crowdfunding to get this experiment off the ground. We launched a fundraising campaign on Experiment.com to pay for the cost of making and shipping experiment kits to Citizen Scientist volunteers who sign up to be a part of the experiment. We need to raise $6,200 to put together and ship upwards of 250 experiment kits, and pay for the fees to publish the results in a scientific journal. We are asking for a $25 donation to participate in this experiment, and anything over that will go toward sending kits to schools to participate for free!

Our Experiment.com fundraiser is the place to go to find out more about how this experiment will work, how to donate, and more. Check out the video, then go to www.GMOexperiment.com.

The crowdfunding campaign will last for only 20 days, ending at midnight on Halloween. After that – and I mean right after that, we’re shipping the kits out to our volunteers who will be able to do the experiment as early as November!

Getting science into the hands of kids

We want kids and schools to be a part of this experiment so they can learn about how science is done in a hands-on and fun way. There will be so many opportunities for students to make their own predictions, gather data, and form conclusions. Then they will get to learn about how scientists repeat experiments and combine data to form stronger conclusions. Finally, they will learn about how scientists go through peer review to get their final paper published for the scientific community to see. It is our hope that donors will be able to put in a little bit more so that we can give the get science into the hands of kids!

Donate Here. Then sign up for the experiment Here.

Over the next 20 days, we’ll be telling you more about how the experiment will work, the backstory about how this came together, pictures of the corn plants when they were growing, and more. For one thing, I will have approximately 2,000 lbs of corn showing up on my doorstep in two days! You will be able to see how massive this experiment can become, as we can make up to 1,250 experiment kits. This experiment is going to happen and here’s your chance to be a part of it. We could confirm an amazing effect or dispel a myth together – and either way we’ll advance science and have a lot of fun doing it.

Follow Karl Haro von Mogel:
Karl earned his Ph.D. in Plant Breeding and Plant Genetics at UW-Madison, with a minor in Life Science Communication. His dissertation was on both the genetics of sweet corn and plant genetics outreach. He recently moved back to his home state of California. His favorite produce might just be squash.