Mice eat farmer’s non-GM corn, ignore GM

A farmer’s planned experiment involving feeding squirrels genetically modified and non-genetically modified corn never happened because mice ate all the non-GM corn first—while ignoring the GM.

Last fall, Maynard Kropf, an Illinois farmer, decided to test a theory that squirrels would rather eat non-GM than GM corn. He picked 10 ears each of GM and non-GM corn, put them into paper bags, and labeled each bag. He took the bags of corn home and placed them on a work bench in his garage.

Kropf planned to wait for winter to put the ears on a squirrel feeder in his yard and test the theory. Unfortunately, he forgot about the experiment.

Fortunately, the experiment happened anyway—with mice. One day this past March, Kropf noticed a mouse on the workbench. Looking closer he saw that mice had chewed the roots of flowers in a pot. Then he noticed the bags of corn nearby, and upon closer inspection found that mice had eaten every kernel from the 10 non-GM corn cobs.

“There was nothing left but the cobs,” Kropf says.

Meanwhile, the mice evidently turned their noses up at the GM corn because the transgenic cobs were untouched!

“We got a test anyway,” Kropf says.

Both bags were open so the mice could have easily eaten the GM corn as well, but they didn’t.

Kropf’s planned feeding experiment turned into an unplanned feeding experiment that left him wondering, “Do mice know something we don’t know?”

© Copyright The Organic & Non-GMO Report May 2008.