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Can GM crops really pass their benefits to weeds?

| August 23, 2013
Panicle of GE Weedy rice in our field trial
Weedy Rice. (Credit: Xiao Yang/Nature)
This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

In his blog, Andrew Kniss, a weed scientist and professor at the University of Wyoming, recently responded to the study, “A novel EPSP synthase transgene for glyphosate resistance stimulates growth and fecundity in weedy rice (Oryza sativa) without herbicide,” published in New Phytologist.

An excerpt:

A really interesting study was reported by Nature News, and has been picking up steam around the interwebs (including Wired and Scientific American). The headlines read “Genetically modified crops pass benefits to weeds” and “weeds get unintended ‘fitness’ boost from genetic modification.” … I’ve read the paper a couple times now, and the results are pretty interesting, but I’m not ready to concede the transgene is causing the effects the authors observed just yet. There are just too many questions unanswered.


Related article:  Genetic engineering promises cornucopia of future products—but biotechnology critics take lethal aim

Read the full, original story here: “Could a herbicide-resistance gene provide fitness benefits in the absence of the herbicide?”


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The GLP featured this article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion and analysis. The viewpoint is the author’s own. The GLP’s goal is to stimulate constructive discourse on challenging science issues.

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