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Wild plants could be given resistance to herbicides.

ラウンドアップ ラウンドアップ Credit Xiao Yang
A well-known method of genetic modification of crops to make them resistant to herbicides is found to confer advantages to the weedy varieties of rice even when the herbicide isn’t in use. The finding suggests that the benefits of this modification have the potential to extend beyond the confines of farms out into the wild.

There are many varieties of crops have been genetically altered to be resistive to glyphosate. Roundup was the first herbicide to be marketed. Farmers can get rid of weeds in their fields using glyphosate, without harming their crops due to this resistance.

Glyphosate blocks an enzyme called EPSP synthase, which is responsible for the creation of specific amino acids and other molecules. It can also hinder plant growth. The technique of genetic modification utilized, for instance in the Roundup Ready crops made by the biotech giant Monsanto which is headquartered in St Louis, Missouri -generally includes inserting genes into a plant’s genome to boost EPSP-synthase production. ラウンドアップ 稲 Genes are typically derived from bacteria that infects crops.

The plant can withstand the effects glyphosate thanks to the addition of EPSP synthase. Biotechnology labs are also attempting to utilize genes from plants rather than bacteria to boost EPSP synthase. This is due to the fact that the US law permits approval by the regulatory authorities to allow organisms that carry transgenes to get approved.

There aren’t many studies that have examined the possibility that transgenes that confer tolerance can — once they become weedy or wild relatives by cross-pollinatingcan boost the plant’s survival and reproduction. “The traditional expectation is that any transgene will confer disadvantage in the wild in the absence of selection pressure, due to the fact that any additional machinery will reduce the fitness,” says Norman Ellstrand an expert in plant genetics at the University of California in Riverside.

Lu Baorong is an ecologist in Fudan University Shanghai. His study shows that resistance to glyphosate offers a significant health benefit, even though it isn’t applied.

Lu and his colleagues have genetically altered the cultivated rice species to express its EPSP synthase. They then crossed it with a plant that was weedy.

The group then let offspring that were cross-bred to breed with one another, resulting in second-generation hybrids that were genetically identical to their parents, except for the number of duplicates of the gene that codes for EPSP synthase. The hybrids with more copies had a higher chance to make more tryptophan as well as have more enzyme levels than their unmodified counterparts.

The researchers also found that the transgenic hybrids had higher rates of photosynthesis. They also they grew larger flowers and shoots and produced 48-125% more seeds than the non-transgenic hybrids -without the use of glyphosate.

Lu claims that making weedy grains more competitive can increase the difficulties it causes for farmers across the world who have crops affected by the pest.

Brian Ford-Lloyd, a UK plant geneticist and says, “If the EPSP synthase gene gets in the wild rice species, their genetic diversity would be endangered, which is crucial because the genotype that has transgene has a higher level of competition than the standard species.” ラウンドアップ “This is one the most evident examples of highly plausible harmful effects (of GM crops] on the environment.”

Many people believe that genetically modified plants containing more replicas of their own genes than those from microorganisms are safe. This is however questioned by this study. Lu states that his study doesn’t support this view.

Researchers believe this discovery calls for a review of the regulations for the future on the use of genetically modified plants. Ellstrand believes that biosafety rules can be relaxed since we enjoy a high level comfort from two decades worth of genetic engineering. “But this study has shown that new products require careful analysis.”