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Herbicide resistance could confer an advantage on plants in the wild.

Credit to Xiao Yang
A common technique for the genetic modification of plants to make them herbicide resistant has been proven to provide advantages to weedy varieties rice, even when herbicide is not present. This finding suggests that these changes could be detrimental to the environment beyond farms.

Many crops are genetically altered in order to resist the effects of glyphosate. The herbicide was initially offered under the trade name Roundup. This makes it possible for farmers to eliminate most the weeds that grow in their fields without causing harm to their crops.

Glyphosate acts as an inhibitor of the growth of plants. It blocks an enzyme known as EPSP synthase. This enzyme is responsible in the production certain amino acids and other molecules. ラウンドアップ These compounds can make up as much as 35% of a plant’s mass. Genetic modification — used, for instance in the Roundup Ready crops made by the biotechnology giant Monsanto, based in St Louis, Missouri — typically includes inserting genes into the crop’s genome to boost EPSP-synthase production. ラウンドアップ Genes are usually derived from bacteria that infect the crops.

The extra EPSP synase allows for the plant to resist the harmful effects of glyphosate. Biotechnology labs also have tried to utilize plants’ genes instead of bacteria to boost the production of EPSP synthase partly to make use of an inconsistency that is in US law that allows approval by regulators of organisms that have transgenes not that are derived from bacteria.

Few studies have investigated the possibility that transgenes like glyphosate-resistant genes are able to — when introduced to weedy or wild plants by cross-pollination — enhance the competition of plants in survival, reproduction and growth. Norman Ellstrand of University of California Riverside declares, “The conventional expectation is that any type of transgene in the wild will confer disadvantage if there’s no pressure to select because the added machinery can reduce the fitness.”

Lu Baorong of Fudan University in Shanghai is in the process of challenging this notion. The study demonstrates that glyphosate resistance even when not applied to an weedy varieties of the rice crop can give a significant health boost.

Their research was published in 1. Lu and his coworkers genetically modified cultivated rice to increase its EPSP synthase activity and crossed it with a weedy cousin.

The researchers then allowed the offspring of cross-breeding to be bred together to produce second-generation hybrids. These were genetically identical, with the exception of the number and copy count of the EPSP synthase gene. The hybrids that had more copies of the gene were more likely to make more tryptophan and had greater levels of enzymes over their counterparts that were not modified.

Researchers also discovered that transgenics have higher rates of flowering, more flowers and 48 to 125 percent more seeds per plant than nontransgenics.

Lu says that making weedy crops more competitive could create more difficulties to farmers all over the world who have crops affected by the pest.

Brian Ford Lloyd, a UK plant scientist, stated that the EPSP Synthase gene is able to get in wild rice varieties. This could threaten the genetic diversity of their species, which is very crucial. “This is a prime instance of the most likely and harmful impacts of GM crops on the environment.”

There is a popular belief that genetically engineered crops with additional copies of microorganisms’ genes are safer than ones that only contain the genes of their owners. “Our study shows that this is not always the case,” Lu says. Lu.

ラウンドアップ じょうろ Certain researchers believe that this finding calls for a review of future regulation of genetically modified crops. “Some people are now suggesting that biosafety regulation can be relaxed since we’ve achieved a high level of comfort in the last two years of genetic engineering” Ellstrand says. ラウンドアップ “But the research still suggests that new products need careful analysis.”