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The wild plants may have the advantage of resistance to herbicides.

Credit: Xiao Yang
It has been established that a genetic modification technique is extensively used to make crops resistant to herbicides, confers advantages on the rice that is weedy. The results indicate that such modifications could positively impact wild rice varieties, as well as crop varieties.

A variety of cultivars are genetically modified in order to ward off glyphosate. The herbicide was initially available under the trade name Roundup. Farmers can get rid of weeds in their fields using glyphosate, without harming their crops due to this resistance. Glyphosate inhibits an enzyme known as EPSP synthase that is responsible for the creation of specific amino acids and other molecules. ラウンドアップ エクセル It also can hinder the growth of plants. The genetic modification method employed in Roundup Ready crops by Monsanto (based in St Louis in Missouri) involves inserting genetic material in a plant to boost EPSP synthase production. The genes typically come from bacteria that have affected the plants.

The additional EPSP synthase allows the plant to resist the effects of glyphosate. Biotechnology labs attempted to utilize genes from plants to boost EPSP synthase activity. This was done in part to make use of a loophole that is in US law that permits regulatory approval of transgenes contained in organisms that are not derived from pests of bacteria.

There aren’t many studies that have examined the possibility that transgenes, such as glyphosate-resistant ones could — after introduction to weedy or wild plants by cross-pollination — enhance the competition of plants in survival, reproduction and growth. “The common belief is that any transgene could cause disadvantage in the wild, in the absence of any selection pressure because the extra machinery would decrease the fitness of the plant,” says Norman Ellstrand an expert in plant genetics at the University of California in Riverside.

Lu Baorong is an Ecologist in Fudan University Shanghai. His study shows that resistance to glyphosate is a major fitness benefit, even if it’s not used.

Lu and his colleagues genetically modified the cultivated Rice species to express the EPSP synthase. They then crossed-bred it with an plant that was weedy.

The team then let the offspring of crossbreeding to cross-breed with each other to create second generation hybrids. They were identical genetically with the exception of the amount of EPSP synthase genes they carried. As expected, those who had more copies expressed higher levels of the enzyme and produced more amino acids tryptophan than their non-modified counterparts.

Researchers also discovered that transgenic hybrids are more photogenic, produced more plants per plant and had 48-125 percent more seeds than the non-transgenic varieties.

ラウンドアップ 藤 Lu believes that making weedy, aggressive rice more competitive could make it harder for farmers to recover from the harm caused by this bug.

Brian Ford-Lloyd, a UK plant geneticist who says, “If the EPSP synthase gene is introduced into wild rice varieties, their genetic diversity would be endangered, which is significant because the genotype with transgene is superior to the natural species.” “This is one clear example of the highly plausible negative impacts of GM plants] on our environment.”

The public believes that plants with genetically modified genes containing more than one copy of their genes than microorganisms are safe. This notion is however questioned by the study. ラウンドアップ Lu claims that the research “shows that this is not always true”.

ラウンドアップ amazon Some researchers believe this finding needs to be reviewed in light of future regulation of crops that have been genetically modified. “Some people are now suggesting that biosafety regulations are eased because we’ve reached a high level of comfort with two years of genetic engineering” says Ellstrand. “But the study demonstrates that new products require cautious evaluation.”