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Wild plants could be given herbicide resistance.

ラウンドアップ -known method of genetic modification of crops that make them herbicide-resistant has been proven to provide advantages to weedy varieties rice even when the herbicide isn’t present. This suggests that such genetic modification may also have potential to have an impact on wild animals.

Several types of crops have been genetically modified to be intolerant to the herbicide glyphosate. It was initially sold under the brand name Roundup. Farmers can eradicate most the weeds that grow in their fields by using this glyphosate resistance without damaging their crops.

Glyphosate is a plant-killer by blocking EPSP synase which is an enzyme involved in the production amino acids as well as other chemicals that comprise about 35% of plant mass. Genetic modification that is employed by Monsanto’s Roundup Ready crops, which are based in St Louis (Missouri), typically involves inserting genes in a crop’s DNA to increase EPSP synthase’s production. The genes typically come from bacteria infected with plants.

The plant is able to resist the adverse effects of glyphosate due to the extra EPSP synthase. Biotechnology labs tried to use plants’ genes to increase EPSP synthase production. This was partly to exploit a loophole within US law that permits regulatory approval of organisms containing transgenes that are not derived from bacteria pests.

ラウンドアップ have looked into whether transgeneslike those that confer resistance to glyphosate, could make plants more resilient to surviving and reproduce once they cross-pollinate with weedy or wild species. “The conventional belief is that any transgene will confer disadvantage in the wild in the absence of selection pressure, because the extra machinery would decrease the fitness of the plant,” says Norman Ellstrand who is a plant geneticist at the University of California in Riverside.

Lu Baorong (an ecologist at Fudan University, Shanghai) has since challenged this view. It has proven that resistance to glyphosate provides significant benefits to fitness for the weedy rice crop called Oryza Sativa even when not being used.

Lu and colleagues altered cultivated rice species to enhance the production of EPSP synthase. The modified rice was then crossed with a wild ancestor.

The team permitted the offspring from cross-breeding to cross-breed to produce second-generation hybrids. They were identical genetically with the exception of the amount of EPSP synthase genes they carried. The ones who had more copies expressed higher levels of the enzyme, and produced more of the amino acid tryptophan than their non-modified counterparts.

Researchers also found that transgenic hybrids were more photogenic, they produced more plants per plant, and produced 48 to 125 percent more seeds than non-transgenic varieties.

Lu believes that making the rice weedy less competitive could make it more difficult for farmers who have their land infested by pests. , a UK plant scientist, has said that the EPSP Synthase gene is able to get into wild rice species. This would erode their genetic diversity, which is extremely vital. ”ラウンドアップ+マックスロード/ is one the most clear examples of highly plausible harmful effects of GM crops] upon the environment.”

This study challenges public belief that crops modified genetically that carry additional copies of their own genes are more secure than those that contain the genes of microorganisms. ラウンドアップ claims that the research “shows that this isn’t always the case”.

Researchers say this discovery calls for a review of the regulations for the future on genetically modified crops. Ellstrand says that some people think that biosafety rules can be relaxed because we’ve had more than two decades of genetic engineering. “But the research indicates that innovative products require careful analysis.”