MEXICO CITY (AP) -- Mexican authorities are allowing 22 experimental plots of biotech corn to be grown in several northern states of the ancestral homeland of the crop, over protests from environmental activists.

In a joint announcement Tuesday, the Agriculture and Education secretaries say the permits to grow genetically modified corn require that the experimental plots be kept "totally isolated" from other crops.

Environmentalists say modified genes could spread and contaminate genetically valuable native varieties of corn, which originated in Mexico.

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