How to prevent GM corn from ‘contaminating’ (cross pollinating) non GMO fields

Cross-pollination from genetically modified crops is a major concern to farmers who use conventional methods to grow crops–especially corn, which spreads its pollen via wind. Chinese researchers have developed a way to selectively eliminate GM glysophate-resistant corn from non-GM fields.

The researchers genetically modified corn to be glysophate resistant but sensitive to a different herbicide, nicosulfuron, which was developed by DuPont Pioneer. Nicosulfuron has been successfully used for weed control in corn fields because it kills a “wide range of annual and perennial grasses and broadleaf weeds” but not corn. Scientists silenced the gene that allows corn to be resistant to nicosulfuron and inserted a gene that made it resistant to glysophate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Round Up herbicide.

In field tests, the researchers found that the GM corn was still resistant to Round Up but could be killed with nicosulfuron. This kind of genetic modification would allow simple elimination of Round Up Ready corn from non-GM fields, the researchers write, and could be applied to other types of GM crops.

Read the full, original paper: A Built-In Strategy to Mitigate Transgene Spreading from Genetically Modified Corn

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