Posting in Design
For the first time, University of Arkansas researchers discovered that a biotech crop has established itself into the wild.
Standing inside a field of yellow flowers in North Dakota, University of Arkansas researchers' curiosity got the best of them. They decided to test the canola plants in the Warehouse Foods ditch for proteins that would tell them if the crops are resistant to the very herbicides designed to kill them.
The results came back quickly, delivering the news like an unexpected pregnancy test — the crop developed genes that are resistant Monsanto's Roundup or Bayer's Liberty Link herbicide.
This is the first time a biotech crop has been found flourishing in the wild. In farms, genetically modified canola plants are grown, so it can be used for cooking oil and in animal feed. However, when the GM crops persist in the wild and can not be killed by herbicides, it becomes a weed.
The researchers took a road trip in a red Ford Explorer to scale most of the state, stopping every five miles to take samples. 604 stops and 3,000 miles later, they confirmed their suspicions: The GM crop does persist in the wild.
“We traveled over 3,000 miles to complete the sampling,” University of Arkansas graduate school Meredith Schafer said in a statement. Some of the sites had densely packed plants, with 1,000 specimens in a 50-meter space. “They spray these roadsides with herbicides, and canola is the only thing still growing.”
The researchers found that as much as 83 percent of the canola found in the wild had mutated from what is commercially available and the plants contained at least one transgene.
Canola was detected in nearly 50 percent of the locations. And boy, this crop doesn't discriminate. The researchers found the weed growing in gas stations, cemeteries, ball parks, and along roads.
It is unclear of if this is a problem, but some argue that it's impossible to stop gene pollution from happening.
In fact, canola can "mate' with 40 different weed species around the world. However, United States regulatory agencies have said previously that volunteer populations of GM, herbicide-resistant canola, are bound to happen.
With more than 50 percent of the earth used for growing crops for food or forage, the researchers warn that we need to be mindful of how we modify the plants used in cultivation, especially since it is clear they can end up growing in the wild.
No doubt, it will be hard to control plants that are resistant to available herbicides. What are regulators going to do about it? It's unclear if it's a problem at all. Time will tell.
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Aug 6, 2010
Rancher, no doubt you've been the target of a lawsuit regarding the re-use or unintended proliferation of GM corn or some other crop. From your perspective as a farmer/rancher I can understand your disgust with giant corps like Monsanto, Dow and Bayer. They have the resources and the will to bury you and your livelihood if you have the audacity to somehow become the focus of their corporate ire. I, however, am in the business of controlling weeds and unwanted vegetation and believe that through the use of the much touted "integrated pest management" programs we can use the products made by these very same companies safely and within reasonable environmentally acceptable standards. Further, we have seen many "weeds", such as mares-tale and cochia become immune to glyphosate. These are not commercial plants just plants that through some process or another no longer respond to the most common chemical control known as RoundUp. As far as law suits and other such activities being part and parcel of some agribusiness's overall business plan ... I don't know, but I wouldn't be overly surprised if it were the case. We work in the wireless industry so nothing in the world of underhanded corporate tactics comes as surprise anymore. RCB
I wonder who Monsanto is going to sue over this one. Yes, Beltz, in the case of Monsanto, GM is a tool of probably the most evil big agribusiness in the world whose only concern really is profit plus world domination of GMO via their patents. It's the only company in the world that sues their customers as part of their business model. The article is about canola, but could just as easily be wild corn or soybeans from cross fertilization with Monsanto's GMO crops.
Whether a plant is genetically modified in a laboratory or becomes resistant to a herbicide via "natural selection" as a result of over exposure to said herbicide really makes little difference. Although many of you reading this like to believe that genetic modification, or GM is an evil tool of big agribusiness whose only concern is profit the truth is that genetic modification occurs naturally in the environment every minute of every day. It's how life on this planet adapts and survives. So please, take your blinders off and begin to understand the world in which you live.
HI, this is no surprised. Years ago they modified corn into an animal feed not fit for humans. It was dominant and soon invaded natural corn fields. It took 4 billion dollars to eradicate. Soon all our food may be like this. They should not modify food at all just for profit. Look at one of the first, tomatoes, they taste awful and have to be gassed to turn pink, they never fully ripen.
This is what sane people should refer to as "wrong." Now my body will be in need of GM to counter the effects of their GM - I would like to be herbicide (and carcinogen) resistant too!
The answer to Roundup-resistant canola growing where we don't want it? Develop a better weedkiller. We could also harvest said canola process it to extract useful chemicals.