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

Credit to Xiao Yang
One of the most common methods used to make crops more resistant to herbicides was shown to offer advantages over weedy forms of rice. The findings suggest that this modifications could have positive effects on wild rice varieties as well as crops.

ラウンドアップ ハイロード A wide range of crops has been modified genetically to make them immune to Roundup herbicide glyphosate. The resistance to glyphosate enables farmers to eradicate most herbicides, without causing damage to their crop.

Glyphosate is a deterrent to the growth of plants. It blocks an enzyme known as EPSP synthase. This enzyme is involved for the production of certain amino acids as well as other molecules. These compounds could be responsible for as much as 35% of a plant’s mass. The technique of genetic modification is employed, for example, in Roundup Ready plants made by Monsanto Biotechnology, a biotech company that is headquartered in St Louis, Missouri. ラウンドアップ It involves inserting genes into the genome of a plant to increase EPSP synthase-synthase production. Genes are typically derived from bacteria that infect the crops.

The plant is able to withstand the effects caused by glyphosate due to its extra EPSP-synthase. Biotechnology labs tried to use genes from plants to boost EPSP synthase production. This was partially to make use of a loophole that is in US law that permits regulatory approval for transgenes in organisms that have not been derived from pests of bacteria.

A few studies have explored whether transgenes, such as ones that confer resistance to glyphosate, can make plants more resilient to surviving and reproduce once they cross-pollinate with weedy or wild species. “The common belief is that any sort of transgene can cause disadvantages in the wild in the absence of any selection pressure because the extra machinery would reduce the fitness,” says Norman Ellstrand an expert in plant genetics at the University of California in Riverside.

Lu Baorong from Fudan University in Shanghai is now challenging that view. The study shows that glyphosate resistance , even when applied to the weedy varieties of the rice crop could provide a substantial health boost.

Lu and his colleagues modified cultivated rice varieties to increase the production of EPSP synthase. They also crossed the modified rice with a weedy related. Their findings were published in NewPhytologist 1. The team then allowed the cross-bred offspring to breed with each other, resulting in second-generation hybrids genetically identical except in the number of copies of the gene encoding EPSP synthase. ラウンドアップ As expected, the hybrids that had more copies of the gene were more likely to make more tryptophan and had more enzyme levels than the unmodified hybrids. Researchers also found that transgenics have higher rates, had more flowers and 48-125% more seeds/plant than nontransgenics.

Making the weedy rice more competitive may increase the issues it creates for farmers around the world where plots are ravaged by the pest, Lu says.

Brian Ford-Lloyd, an UK plant geneticist who says, “If the EPSP synthase gene becomes present in wild rice varieties their genetic diversity will be at risk, which is important because the genotype with transgene is superior to the natural species.” “This is one clear example of the very real negative impacts of GM plants] on our surroundings.”

The public belief that genetically-modified crops with additional copies their genes are safer is disproved by this research. Lu declares that “our study doesn’t prove this to be the case.”

Researchers believe this discovery requires rethinking the future regulation on genetically modified crops. Ellstrand saysthat “Some people believe that biosafety regulation should be looser.” Ellstrand adds: “But this study has shown that new products need to be evaluated with care.”