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Wild plants could be treated with herbicides.

ラウンドアップ Credit to Xiao Yang
Genetic modification of crops to make them resistant to herbicides has been extensively used to produce advantages for species of rice that are weedy. These results suggest that such modifications may have a wide variety of impacts that extend beyond farms, and possibly into the wild.

A variety of crops have been created genetically to be resistant to the glyphosate. This herbicide, originally called Roundup and then introduced to the market in 1996 under the trade name Roundup. This resistance to glyphosate allows farmers to eradicate the majority of herbicides in their fields without harming their crop.

Glyphosate is a plant-killer by inhibiting EPSP synase which is an enzyme involved in the creation of amino acids, as well as other chemical compounds which comprise around 35% of plants’ mass. ラウンドアップ 除草剤 Genetic modification, for instance, the Roundup Ready crops manufactured by Monsanto in St. Louis, Missouri, involves inserting genes into the genetic code to boost EPSP production. The genes are often derived from bacteria that has caused the infection of the plant.

The extra EPSP synthase allows the plant to withstand the effects of glyphosate. ラウンドアップ Biotechnology labs also have tried to create EPSP-synthase that is more plant-based than bacteria, using genes derived from plants. ラウンドアップ This was partially done to exploit a loophole found in US law that allows regulatory approval for organisms that aren’t derived from bacteria or parasites.

A few studies have explored whether transgenes like those which confer glyphosate resistance can make plants more competitive in reproduction and survival once they’re introduced to wild or weedy cousins by cross-pollination. Norman Ellstrand of the University of California, Riverside, stated that the conventional expectation was that any transgene will be detrimental to nature if there is no selection pressure. ラウンドアップ This is because extra machines would reduce the performance of the. Lu Baorong, an ecologist from Fudan University in Shanghai has rewritten that view. He discovered that resistance to glyphosate provides a significant fitness lift to a weedy version of the common rice crop Oryza sativa.

In their study, published this month in New Phytologist 1, Lu and his colleagues genetically modified the rice plant to overexpress its own EPSP synthase. They crossed the altered rice with a weedy ancestor.

The researchers then allowed the hybrid offspring of crossbreds to reproduce with each other, resulting in second-generation hybrids genetically identical to one another except in the number of copies of the gene that encodes EPSP synthase. As was expected, those with more copies of the gene had more enzyme activity and more amino acid tryptophan compared to their counterparts that were not modified.

Researchers also discovered that the transgenic hybrids had higher rates of photosynthesis, produced more flowers and shoots and produced 48-125percent more seeds than the non-transgenic hybridswith or without glyphosate.

Lu believes making weedy, invasive rice more competitive may make it more difficult for farmers to recoup the damage caused by this pest.

Brian Ford Lloyd, a UK plant scientist, has said that the EPSP Synthase gene may be introduced into wild rice species. This could threaten their genetic diversity, which is very vital. “This is one the most clear instances of the highly probable negative impacts of GM crops] upon the natural environment.”

The study also challenges the public notion that genetically modified plants that carry additional copies of their genes are less dangerous than the ones that have genes from microorganisms. Lu claims that the research “shows that this is not always true”.

Some researchers believe this finding calls for a review of future regulation of crops that have been genetically modified. Ellstrand saysthat “Some people think that biosafety regulation should be eased.” Ellstrand adds: “But, the study showed that novel products still require careful analysis.”