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Is there potential for movement of genes between GM plants and others?

By Ania Wieczorek, Biotech in Focus, University of Hawaii, August 2014

Flower canva 1It is possible that genes may move among GE crops and other closely related plants. A closely related plant is generally of the same species as the crop plant. Science has found that under certain conditions rare gene flow to another species does occur: bread wheat is an example of a species that arose 10,000 years ago in farmer’s field from genes from three different species. To understand how genes might move between crop plants, including GM crops, and wild closely related plants or species, we’ll first need to consider how flowering plants reproduce.

Traits that are useful in a crop plant can be beneficial, neutral, or even harmful to a wild plant of the same or very closely related species. For example, a weedy cousin of a crop plant that acquires a herbicide resistance trait by gene flow from GE crops might be more successful and harder to control. A crop that flowers at a predictable time might help farmers plan their growing season, but a wild relative with the same trait might be more vulnerable to unpredictable weather events . . . See full article: Biotech in Focus, Issue 15
See all topics in Biotech in Focus Series

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