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In nature, resistance to herbicides may confer advantages on plants.

Weedy rice can pick up transgenes from genetically modified rice by cross-pollinating. Credit: Xiao Yang
A method of genetic modification used extensively to produce crops that are herbicide-resistant has been found to give advantages to the weedy rice, even in the absence of the herbicide. ラウンドアップ The findings suggest that this modification could positively impact wild rice varieties and crops.

A variety of crops are genetically altered so that they can ward off the effects of glyphosate. This herbicide was first sold under the tradename Roundup. This resistance to glyphosate enables farmers to eradicate most weeds without causing any damage to their crops.

ラウンドアップ 業務用 Glyphosate is a deterrent to plant growth. It inhibits an enzyme called EPSP synthase. This enzyme is responsible for the production of certain amino acids as well as other molecules. ラウンドアップ These compounds could account for up to 35% of the plant’s mass. 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. ラウンドアップ The genes typically come from bacteria that are infected with plants.

The plant can endure the negative effects of glyphosate due to its extra EPSP-synthase. Biotechnology labs are also looking to use genes that come from plants instead of bacteria to boost EPSP synthase. This is due to the fact that the US law allows regulatory approval to allow organisms that carry transgenes to get recognized as acceptable.

There aren’t many studies that have examined whether transgenes , such as those that confer glyphosate resistance are able to — once they are weedy or wild relatives through cross-pollination -make plants more competitive in terms of survival and reproduction. Norman Ellstrand of the University of California, Riverside, stated that the conventional expectation was that any transgene would be detrimental to nature if there was no selection pressure. This is due to the fact that any additional machinery could reduce the fitness.

Lu Baorong, an ecologist from Fudan University in Shanghai has changed the way that he views this. He found that resistance to glyphosate provides significant fitness benefits to the weedy version of the common rice plant Oryza sativa.

Lu and his colleagues genetically modified the rice species to express its EPSP synthase. ラウンドアップ They then crossed it with the weedy parent.

The researchers then allowed the breeding offspring from the cross to mix with one another, creating second-generation hybrids that were genetically identical to one another with the exception of the amount of copies of the gene encoding EPSP synthase. The hybrids with more copies had a higher chance to produce more tryptophan and had greater levels of enzymes than the unmodified hybrids.

Researchers also discovered that plants with transgenic genes were more photosynthesis-intensive, produced more flowers, and produced 48-125% fewer seeds per plant than nontransgenic hybrids. This was despite the fact that glyphosate was never present.

Making weedy rice more competitive can exacerbate the problems it causes for farmers all over the world whose plots are invaded by pests, Lu says.

Brian Ford-Lloyd is Brian Ford-Lloyd is a UK plant geneticist. He states, “If the EPSP synthase gene gets in the wild rice species their genetic diversity could be threatened which is really significant because the genotype with transgene outcompetes the normal species.” “This is among the most obvious instances of extremely plausible negative consequences of GM crops] upon the natural environment.”

This study challenges popular belief that crops modified genetically with additional copies of their own genes are less dangerous than those containing the genes of microorganisms. Lu says that Lu’s study does not support this belief.

Researchers believe that their findings require a rethinking of how genetically modified plants will be controlled in the future. Ellstrand says that some people believe that biosafety regulations could be relaxed because we’ve had more than two decades of genetic engineering. “But this study has shown that novel products still require careful analysis.”