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Wild plants may be resistant to herbicides.

Credit Xiao Yang
One of the most common methods that makes crops resistant to herbicides was found to offer advantages over rice varieties that are weedy. This suggests that the effects of such modification have the potential to extend beyond the confines of farms out into the wild.

Many crops are genetically modified in order to resist the effects of glyphosate. This herbicide was first available under the trade name Roundup. Farmers can get rid of weeds in their fields using glyphosate, without harming their crops because of this resistance.

Glyphosate may hinder the growth of plants by inhibiting EPSP synase, an enzyme involved in the creation of amino acids as well as other chemicals that make up about 35% of plants’ mass. ラウンドアップ Genetic modification, like the Roundup Ready crops manufactured by Monsanto in St. Louis, Missouri, involves inserting genes into a plant’s genetic code to increase EPSP production. Genes are usually derived from bacteria that infects the crops.

ラウンドアップ The additional EPSP synthase allows the plant to resist the effects of glyphosate. Biotechnology labs have also attempted to utilize the genes of plants to increase the EPSP synthase enzyme, in part to make use of an American loophole that allows for regulatory approval of transgenes not derived bacteria-based pests.

A few studies have explored whether transgeneslike those that confer resistance the chemical glyphosate can increase the resilience of plants in survival and reproduction once they cross-pollinate with wild or weedy species. Norman Ellstrand is a University of California Riverside plant geneticist. “The expectation is that any transgene will cause disadvantage in the wild, in absence of select pressure, because it would reduce the fitness of the plant,” Ellstrand said.

However, a new study conducted by Lu Baorong, an ecologist from Fudan University in Shanghai, is challenging that notion and shows that the weedy version of the popular rice plant, Oryza sativa has an important boost in fitness due to glyphosate resistance, even when glyphosate has not been applied.

Lu and coworkers modified the cultivars of rice to improve its EPSP synthase. The modified rice was then crossed with a wild ancestor.

ラウンドアップ The group then permitted the offspring from cross-breeding to cross-breed with one other to create second generation hybrids. They were genetically identical apart from the number of EPSP synthase genes they had. Like one might expect, the more copies resulted in higher levels of enzyme and more tryptophan than their unmodified counterparts.

ラウンドアップ Researchers also found that transgenic hybrids were photogenic, produced more plants per plant and had 48-125% higher yields of seeds than non-transgenic varieties.

Lu believes that making the rice weedy less competitive can make it more difficult for farmers who have their land invaded by the pest.

Brian Ford-Lloyd, a researcher at Brian Ford-Lloyd from the University of Birmingham, UK, says “If the EPSP synthase gene is introduced to wild rice species their genetic diversity is crucial for conserving, could be threatened because it would surpass the regular varieties.” “This is a prime illustration of the most likely and harmful effects of GM crops on the environment.”

ラウンドアップ The study also challenges the popular belief that crops modified genetically carrying extra copies of their genes are safer than those that contain the genes of microorganisms. Lu claims that the study doesn’t support this belief.

According to some scientists this finding suggests that any future regulation for genetically engineered crops should be rethought. Ellstrand thinks that biosafety laws can be relaxed since we are able to benefit from a high degree of comfort from two decades worth of genetic engineering. ラウンドアップ 朝露 The study found that any new products need to be evaluated carefully.