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Plants in the wild could be given resistance to herbicides.

Credit Xiao Yang
One common genetic-modification method that makes crops resistant to herbicides has been shown to offer advantages over weedy forms of rice. This suggests that such genetic modifications could also have the potential to affect wild animals.

A variety of crops have been created genetically to be resistant to glyphosate. The herbicide, first called Roundup and then introduced on the market in the year 1996 under the trade name Roundup. Farmers are able to eliminate herbicides from their fields using this glyphosate resistance without damaging their crops.

Glyphosate is a deterrent to plant growth. ラウンドアップ It blocks an enzyme known EPSP synthase. This enzyme plays a role for the production of certain amino acids as well as other molecule. These compounds can be responsible for as much as 35% of the plant’s mass. The genetic-modification technique — utilized, for instance in Roundup Ready crops made by the biotechnology giant Monsanto which is headquartered in St Louis, Missouri -usually involves inserting genes into the crop’s genome to boost EPSP-synthase production. Genes are typically obtained from bacteria that infects the crops.

The added EPSP synthase allows the plant to resist the effects of glyphosate. ラウンドアップ al Biotechnology labs attempted to utilize plants’ genes to increase EPSP synthase activity. This was done in part to make use of a loophole that is in US law that permits the regulatory approval of transgenes contained in organisms that have not been derived from pests of bacteria.

Few studies have explored whether transgenes that confer glyphosate tolerance could — after they become weedy or wild relatives through cross-pollinatingcan boost the plant’s survival and reproduce. Norman Ellstrand of the University of California, Riverside, stated that the conventional expectation was that any transgene would be detrimental to nature if there was no selection pressure. This is because extra machinery could reduce the effectiveness of. Lu Baorong, an ecologist from Fudan University in Shanghai has rewritten that view. He discovered that resistance to glyphosate provides significant fitness benefits to a weedy variant of the standard rice plant Oryza Sativa. In the study published this month in New Phytologist 1, Lu and his colleagues modified the genetics of the rice plant to increase the expression of its own EPSP synthase. They also crossed-bred the modified rice with a weedy relative.

The researchers then allowed offspring that were cross-bred to breed with one-another, creating second generation hybrids which were genetically identical to their parents with the exception for how many duplicates of the gene that codes for EPSP synthase. It was expected that those with more copies had greater levels of enzymes and produced more amino acid tryptophan when compared to their counterparts that were not modified.

ラウンドアップ Researchers also discovered that the hybrids with transgenic genes had higher rates of photosynthesis. They also produced more flowers and shoots and produced 48 to 125 percent more seeds per plant than non-transgenic hybrids -with or without the chemical glyphosate.

Lu believes that making the rice weedy less competitive could make it harder for farmers who have their land affected by pests.

Brian Ford-Lloyd, Brian Ford-Lloyd is a UK plant geneticist who states, “If the EPSP synthase gene gets in the wild rice species, their genetic diversity would be threatened which is really significant because the genotype with transgene has a higher level of competition than the standard species.” “This is among the most clear examples of highly plausible negative effects (of GM crops] on the environment.”

Many people believe that genetically modified plants containing more replicas of their own genes than microorganisms are safe. This belief is not supported by the study. Lu states that his study does not support this notion.

Researchers have concluded that their findings require an overhaul of how genetically modified crops will be controlled in the near future. Ellstrand believes that biosafety regulations may be relaxed because we are able to benefit from a high degree of comfort from two decades worth of genetic engineering. The study showed that new products should be carefully evaluated.