Auto Draft

Herbicide resistance might confer an advantage on plants in the wild.

Credit goes to Xiao Yang
Genetic modification to make crops resistant to herbicides is widely employed to create advantages for species of rice that are weedy. This suggests that this genetic modification may also have potential to impact wild animals.

A variety of kinds of crops are genetically modified to be resistive to glyphosate. ラウンドアップ Roundup was the first herbicide that was marketed. ラウンドアップ This glyphosate-resistant crop allows farmers to eradicate the majority of herbicides in their fields without damaging their crop.

Glyphosate acts as an inhibitor of the growth of plants. It inhibits an enzyme called EPSP synthase. This enzyme plays a role in the production certain amino acids as well as other molecule. These substances can be responsible for as much as 35% of a plant’s mass. ラウンドアップ Genetic modification employed by Monsanto’s Roundup Ready crops, which are based in St Louis (Missouri), generally involves inserting genes into the DNA of the crop to increase EPSP synthase’s production. Genes are usually derived from bacteria infected with plants.

The plant is able to withstand the effects of glyphosate because of the addition of EPSP synthase. Biotechnology labs also tried to utilize the genes of plants to increase EPSP-synthase, partly to make use of an American loophole that permits regulatory approval of transgenes not derived bacteria-based pests.

A few studies have looked into the possibility that transgenes like glyphosate-resistant genes could — after introduction to weedy or wild plants through cross-pollination enhance the competition of plants in survival, reproduction and growth. ラウンドアップ “The common belief is that any transgene can cause disadvantages in the wild in absence of any 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.

A new study, led by Lu Baorong, an ecologist at Fudan University in Shanghai, is challenging that notion It reveals that the weedy version of the popular rice plant, Oryza sativa, gets an important boost in fitness due to resistance to glyphosate, even when glyphosate is not applied.

Their study was published in 1. Lu and his coworkers altered the genetics of cultivated rice to boost its EPSP synthase expression and crossed it with a weedy cousin.

The team then allowed offspring that were cross-bred to breed with one another, creating second generation hybrids which were genetically identical to their parents except for how many copies of the gene that encodes EPSP synthase. The hybrids that had more copies of the gene had a higher chance to produce more tryptophan and have higher enzyme levels than their unmodified counterparts.

Researchers also found that transgenic hybrids grew between 48-125percent more seeds per plant, and had greater rates of photosynthesis and more shoots than those that were not transgenic.

Lu claims that making weedy crops more competitive may increase the difficulties it causes to farmers around the world whose crops are affected by the insect.

Brian Ford-Lloyd (a UK plant geneticist) says that if the EPSP-synthase genes gets into wild rice species, then their genetic diversity which is vital to preserve could be at risk. The transgene would be more competitive than regular species. “This is among the most evident instances of the highly probable negative impacts of GM crops] on the natural environment.”

The study also challenges the idea that genetically modified plants with additional copies of their genes are less risky than those containing microorganism genes. Lu claims that the study does not support this belief.

Some researchers believe this finding needs to be reviewed in light of future regulation of crops that have been genetically modified. Ellstrand believes that biosafety laws can be relaxed since we can benefit from a high degree of comfort from two decades worth of genetic engineering. “But, the study showed that the new technologies still require careful analysis.”