Auto Draft

In nature, resistance to herbicides might confer an advantage to plants.

Credit Xiao Yang
Genetic modification of crops to make them resistant to herbicides is widely used to produce advantages for species of rice that are weedy. This suggests that this genetic modifications could also have the potential to impact wild animals.

Several types of crops are genetically modified to be resistant to the herbicide glyphosate. It was initially sold under the trade name Roundup. Farmers are able to eliminate the weeds that grow in their fields by using this glyphosate resistance without damaging their crops.

Glyphosate can inhibit plant growth by inhibiting EPSP synase which is an enzyme involved in the production of amino acids, as well as other chemical compounds that make up about 35% of plants’ mass. The method of genetic modification, which is employed in Roundup Ready crops by Monsanto (based in St Louis in Missouri), involves inserting genes into the crop to increase EPSP synthase’s output. 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 have also attempted to make use of genes from plants rather than bacteria to boost EPSP-synthase production, in part to exploit the loophole within US law that facilitates the approval of regulatory agencies for organisms that carry transgenes that are not made from bacterial pests.

Few studies have tested whether transgenes such as those that confer resistance to glyphosate could — after they get into wild or weedy relatives by cross-pollination, make plants more competitive in survival and reproduction. Norman Ellstrand of the University of California, Riverside, explained that the standard assumption was that any transgene could be detrimental to nature if there is no selection pressure. This is because any extra machinery would lower the performance of the. But now a study led by Lu Baorong, an ecologist at Fudan University in Shanghai, disproves that belief and shows that the weedy variant of the standard rice crop, Oryza sativa is given a significant fitness boost from glyphosate resistance, even when glyphosate is not applied.

Lu and his associates modified the cultivars of rice to produce more EPSP synthase. They also crossed the modified rice with a weedy-related. Their work was published in NewPhytologist 1..

The group then let offspring that were cross-bred to breed with one another, creating second generation hybrids which are genetically similar to their parents, except the number of copies of the gene that encodes EPSP synthase. It was expected that those with more copies had greater levels of enzymes and produced more amino acid tryptophan when compared to the unmodified counterparts.

Researchers also found that transgenic hybrids produced 48-125percent more seeds per plant, and had greater rates of photosynthesis and more shoots than non-transgenic ones.

Lu believes that making rice that is weedy more competitive could cause more problems for farmers across the globe whose fields are being infested by the pest.

ラウンドアップ Brian Ford-Lloyd, a UK plant geneticist and states, “If the EPSP synthase gene is introduced into wild rice species, their genetic diversity would be at risk, which is important because the genotype with transgene outcompetes the normal species.” “This is one the most clear instances of the highly probable negative consequences (of GM crops] on the environment.”

The popular belief that genetically modified crops containing additional copies of their genes are safe is questioned by this study. Lu declares that “our study does not prove that this is true.”

Researchers believe this discovery requires rethinking the future regulation on the use of genetically modified plants. Ellstrand claims that some people think that biosafety rules can be relaxed because we’ve had more than two years of genetic engineering. The study doesn’t prove that new products are safe.