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Wild plants could be capable of resisting herbicides.

Credit: Xiao Yang
The use of genetic modification to make crops resistant to herbicides has been widely used to produce advantages for the varieties of rice that are weedy. ラウンドアップ The results suggest that the effects of such modification could extend beyond the confines of farms out into the wild.

ラウンドアップ A variety of crop varieties have been genetically modified so that they become resistant to Roundup herbicide glyphosate. This resistance to glyphosate allows farmers to wipe out most herbicides in their fields without harming their crop.

Glyphosate is a plant-killer by blocking EPSP synase which is an enzyme involved in the creation of amino acids as well as other chemicals that make up about 35% of the plant’s mass. The genetic-modification technique is used, for example, in Roundup Ready plants made by Monsanto, a biotechnology company based out of St Louis, Missouri. It involves inserting genes into the genome of a crop to increase EPSP synthase-synthase production. Genes typically come from bacteria that infect plants.

The plant is able to resist the adverse effects of glyphosate due to its extra EPSP-synthase. Biotechnology labs attempted to utilize plant genes to boost EPSP synthase activity. ラウンドアップ This was done in part to exploit a loophole within US law that permits the regulatory approval for transgenes in organisms that have not been derived from bacteria pests.

ラウンドアップ There aren’t many studies that have examined whether transgenes such as those that confer glyphosate resistance are able to — once they are weedy or wild relatives through cross-pollination, make plants more competitive in survival and reproduction. ラウンドアップ Norman Ellstrand of the University of California, Riverside, explained that the standard assumption was that any transgene could cause disadvantage in nature when there is no selection pressure. This is due to the fact that any additional machinery would lower the fitness.

Lu Baorong (an ecologist at Fudan University, Shanghai) has now questioned that opinion.ラウンドアップ+マックスロード/ ラウンドアップ It has shown that glyphosate resistance can give a significant fitness boost to a weedy rice crop called Oryza Sativa even when it is not being used.

In their study, published this month in New Phytologist 1, Lu and his coworkers genetically altered the rice cultivar to increase the expression of the species’ own EPSP synthase and cross-bred the altered rice with a weedy relative.

The team then allowed offspring to crossbreed with one-another, creating second generation hybrids that were genetically identical to their parents with the exception for how many copies of the gene that encodes EPSP synthase. The ones who had more copies expressed higher levels of the enzyme and also produced more amino acid tryptophan than their unmodified counterparts.

Researchers also discovered that transgenics had higher rates, more flowers, and 48-125percent more seeds/plant than nontransgenics.

Making weedy rice more competitive may exacerbate the problems it causes for farmers across the globe whose plots are invaded by pests, Lu says.

Brian Ford Lloyd, a UK plant scientist, has said that the EPSP Synthase gene could get in wild rice varieties. This would erode the genetic diversity of their species, which is extremely crucial. “This is one clear example of the very real negative impacts of GM plantson the surroundings.”

The public belief that genetically-modified crops with additional copies their genes are more secure is disproved by this research. Lu states that “our study doesn’t prove that this is the case.”

The findings call for a reconsideration of the future regulations for the genetically altered crops, scientists claim. Ellstrand states “Some people believe that regulation of biosafety should be looser.” Ellstrand says: “But the research shows that the new technologies require cautious assessment.”