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Plants in the wild could be given resistance to herbicides.

Credit Xiao Yang
It has been established that a genetic modification technique, which is widely used to make crops resistant to herbicides, can provide advantages to a weedy variety of rice. The results suggest that the benefits of such modifications could extend beyond farms and out into the wild.

Many varieties of crops have been created genetically to be resistant to the glyphosate. The herbicide, initially called Roundup it was released on the market in the year 1996 under the tradename Roundup. Farmers can eradicate most the weeds that grow in their fields by using this glyphosate resistance without causing damage to their crops.

Glyphosate slows the growth of plants by blocking EPSP synthase (an enzyme that plays a role in the production of specific amino acids, and other molecules). The enzyme can make up as much as 35 percent or more of the plant’s total mass. The genetic modification technique that is employed by Monsanto’s Roundup Ready crops, which are located in St Louis (Missouri), typically involves inserting genes in the DNA of a plant to boost EPSP synthase’s production. The genes typically come from bacteria that are infected with plants.

ラウンドアップ The plant is able to resist the adverse effects of glyphosate due to its additional EPSP-synthase. Biotechnology labs also have tried to use genes from plants instead of bacteria to increase EPSP-synthase levels and, in turn, to take advantage of an inconsistency within US law that permits regulatory approval of organisms carrying transgenes that aren’t that are derived from bacteria.

Few studies have examined whether transgenes like those that confer resistance to glyphosate increase the competitiveness of plants in reproductive success and longevity once they are introduced to wild or weedy cousins by cross-pollination. “The common belief is that any transgene can cause disadvantages in the wild in the absence of pressure to select, 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 at Fudan University Shanghai. His study shows that resistance to glyphosate offers a significant health benefit, even though it’s not applied.

Lu and colleagues altered cultivars of rice to improve the production of EPSP synthase. The modified rice was then cross-bred with a wild ancestor.

ラウンドアップ ラウンドアップ The team then allowed the cross-bred offspring to breed with one another, resulting in second-generation hybrids genetically identical with the exception of the number of copies of gene encoding EPSP synthase. As expected, those who had more copies expressed higher amounts of the enzyme and also produced more amino acid tryptophan than their non-modified counterparts.

ラウンドアップ The researchers also found that transgenic hybrids have higher rates of photosynthesis. They also they grew larger flowers and shoots and produced 48-125% more seeds per plant than non-transgenic hybridswithout the use of glyphosate.

Lu believes making weedy, invasive rice more competitive may hinder farmers to recoup the damage caused by this bug.

Brian Ford Lloyd, a UK plant scientist, said that the EPSP Synthase gene could get in wild rice varieties. This would erode the genetic diversity of their species, which is extremely vital. “This is among the clearest examples of extremely plausible damaging impacts [of GM crops on the environment.”

This study also challenges the perception that genetically modified crops containing extra copies of their genes are less risky than those that contain microorganisms’ genes. “Our study suggests that this isn’t always the case,” Lu says. Lu.

The findings call for a review of future regulation of the genetically altered crops, researchers say. Ellstrand states that “some people believe that biosafety regulations could be relaxed since we have a a high degree of comfort with genetic engineering for the past two decades.” “But the research shows that new products require an unbiased examination.”