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Wild plants might be resistant to herbicides.

Weedy rice can pick up transgenes from genetically modified crops by cross-pollinating. Credit: Xiao Yang
A common technique for genetic modification of crops that make them herbicide-resistant has been found to give advantages to weedy varieties rice even when herbicide isn’t present. The results suggest that this modifications could be beneficial to wild rice varieties as well as crops.

Several types of crops have been genetically modified to be resistant to the herbicide glyphosate. It was initially sold under the trade name Roundup. Farmers can eliminate the majority of the weeds that grow in their fields by using this glyphosate resistance , without damaging their crops.

Glyphosate inhibits growth of plants by blocking EPSP synthase (an enzyme that plays a role in the creation of certain amino acids and various other molecules). The enzyme can be as large as 35% or more of a plant’s total mass. The genetic-modification method, used for Roundup Ready crops by Monsanto (based in St Louis in Missouri) is the process of inserting genes in a plant to boost EPSP synthase’s output. Genes are usually derived from bacteria infected with plants.

The plant can endure the negative effects of glyphosate because it has an additional EPSP-synthase. Biotechnology labs are also looking to use genes that come from plants instead of bacteria to boost EPSP synthase. This is due to the fact that the US law allows for regulatory approval that allows organisms with transgenes to be approved.

ラウンドアップ There aren’t many studies that have looked into the possibility that transgenes similar to those that confer glyphosate resistant can increase the competitiveness of plants in reproductive success and longevity once they are introduced to wild or weedy cousins by cross-pollination. ラウンドアップ Norman Ellstrand of the University of California, Riverside, said that the traditional expectation was that any transgene could cause disadvantage in nature when there was no selection pressure. ラウンドアップ This is because extra machinery would lower the fitness.

Lu Baorong is an Ecologist at Fudan University Shanghai. His study shows that resistance to glyphosate offers a significant health benefit, even though it’s not used.

Lu and his coworkers modified cultivars of rice to produce more EPSP synthase. They also crossed the modified rice with a weedy related. Their work was published in NewPhytologist 1.

The group then permitted the offspring of cross-breeding to be bred together to produce second-generation hybrids. These were genetically identical except for the copy count and number of the EPSP synthase gene. The researchers found that the hybrids who had greater than one copy of the gene that codes for EPSP synthase expressed more enzymes and produced more tryptophan as expected.

Researchers also found that transgenic hybrids produced 48 to 125 percent more seeds per plant, and had greater rates of photosynthesis and more shoots than those that were not transgenic.

Lu states that making weedy grains more competitive may create more difficulties for farmers across the world who have crops infected by the insect. Brian Ford-Lloyd is Brian Ford-Lloyd is a UK plant geneticist and says, “If the EPSP synthase gene becomes present in wild rice species their genetic diversity could be endangered, which is important because the genotype with transgene outcompetes the normal species.” ラウンドアップ “This is among the most obvious instances of extremely plausible negative effects of GM crops] on the natural environment.”

The public believes that plants with genetically modified genes containing more replicas of their own genes than those from microorganisms are safer. This notion is not supported by this study. “Our study shows that this is not always the case,” says Lu.

According to some research, the finding suggests that the future regulation of genetically engineered plants should be rethought. Ellstrand claims that “some people now believe that biosafety regulations could be relaxed due to our the most comfort with genetic engineering over the last two decades.” “But the study demonstrates that the new technologies require an unbiased evaluation.”