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Herbicide resistance may provide advantages to plants in the wild.

Credit Xiao Yang
It has been proven that a technique for genetic modification is extensively used to make crops resistant to herbicides, gives advantages to the rice that is weedy. This suggests that the benefits of such modification have the potential to extend beyond the confines of farms out into the wild.

Many cultivars are genetically altered so that they can resist the effects of glyphosate. This herbicide was first available under the trade name Roundup. Farmers can eliminate the majority of weeds from their fields with this glyphosate-resistant crop without damaging their crops.

Glyphosate blocks an enzyme called EPSP synthase that is responsible for the production of specific amino acids as well as various other molecules. ラウンドアップ can also hinder plant growth. Genetic modification, for instance, the Roundup Ready crops manufactured by Monsanto in St. Louis, Missouri, involves inserting genes to a crop’s genetic code to boost EPSP production. The genes are often derived from bacteria that have affected the plants.

This extra EPSP synthase allows the plant to withstand the effects of glyphosate. ラウンドアップ 持続期間 tried to use plant genes to boost EPSP synthase production. This was partly to take advantage of a loophole in US law that permits regulatory approval of transgenes contained in organisms which have not come from pests of bacteria.

Few studies have looked into the possibility that transgenes, like those that confer resistance to glyphosate, could increase the resilience of plants to surviving and reproduce once they cross-pollinate with wild or weedy species. “The traditional expectation is that any sort of transgene can cause disadvantages in the wild in the absence of selection pressure, due to the fact that any additional machinery will decrease the fitness of the plant,” says Norman Ellstrand who is a plant geneticist at the University of California in Riverside. is an Ecologist at Fudan University Shanghai. shows that glyphosate resistance is a major fitness benefit even when it’s not applied.

In the study published this month in New Phytologist 1, Lu and his colleagues modified the genetics of the cultivated rice species to overexpress its own EPSP synthase. They crossed the modified rice with a weedy cousin.

The researchers allowed offspring of crossbreeding to crossbreed with each other, creating second-generation hybrids that are genetically identical to each other except for the number of copies of the gene encoding EPSP synase. As expected, the hybrids that had more copies of the gene were more likely to make more tryptophan as well as have greater levels of enzymes than their unmodified counterparts.

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

Lu believes that making the rice weedy less competitive could make it more difficult for farmers who have their plots infested by pests.

Brian Ford Lloyd, a UK plant scientist, has said that the EPSP Synthase gene is able to get into wild rice species. This would threaten their genetic diversity, which is extremely crucial. “This is a prime illustration of the most probable and damaging negative effects of GM crops on the environment.”

The public believes that plants with genetically modified genes containing more copies of their own genes than microorganisms are safer. This is however questioned by this study. Lu says that Lu’s study does not support this notion.

A few researchers believe this discovery needs to be reviewed in light of future regulation of crops that have been genetically modified. Ellstrand says that some people think that biosafety rules can be relaxed since we have more than two decades of genetic engineering. ラウンドアップ found that any new products need to be carefully evaluated.