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From Corn Fed to Corn Filler

By Jessica Boden
Posted On Aug 04, 2011
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The Indians gave it to us as a gift. We use it as a renewable energy source. And now, maize (a.k.a. corn) is being discovered as a safer alternative to animal-based collagen. The common type of collagen we know, which uses animal byproducts, can contain infectious agents or even be rejected by the body. So researchers—led by Iowa State University’s Kan Wang, PhD—have discovered a safer, less contaminated corn-based substitute. They have added a gene to the corn that codes for animal collagen, effectively mimicking the human form of the protein we need for youthful skin, but without the side effects. Plus, it costs less. “Producing human collagen in maize seeds is an inexpensive alternative to using animal-derived collagen. The seeds are easy to grow, process, and store,” says Dr. Wang. “Our transgenic plant system is also able to produce a protein with human-like modifications making it a better choice for a wide range of applications.”  Nature can be so uplifting!

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