GE monster weeds have emerged!

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GE monster weeds have emerged!

Scientists warned people for years that GE plants would mix with non GE plants to produce poison resistant weeds. It has finally happened.

Never mind, Monsanto (monsteranto) will probably make some more powerful weed killers to kill the weeds they produced, and will make more money from it.

GENETICALLY modified crops have bred with a native species to create a new herbicide resistant plant which environmentalists yesterday branded Britain's first superweed.

It was previously thought that the weed, charlock, would not be able to interbreed with genetically altered oilseed rape plants.

But government scientists have found a hybrid plant at the margins of a field where a trial crop had been planted. Tests showed it was unaffected by the same herbicides that the GM crop was designed to resist.

Environmentalists said the discovery of the superweed showed there would be serious consequences if GM crops were allowed to be grown commercially, as farmers would be forced to use even more herbicide to stop charlock and other resistant weeds from taking over the field.

The GM rape, which was trialled at several locations around the UK including one site in Aberdeenshire, is supposed to allow farmers to use a "kill all" herbicide that would get rid of every weed in a field - including charlock - but leave the crop unaffected.

But a report by scientists at the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology confirmed a hybrid plant had been discovered at one of the trial sites in England.

In the year after the trial, fields [were] revisited and wild relatives growing in or around the subsequent crop were tested by herbicide application, it said.

A single plant of sinapis arvensis (charlock) showed no reaction to the application and a leaf of this plant was taken for PCR (genetic) analysis. The gene construct was found to be present.

Two other plants, wild turnips, were also found to be herbicide resistant.

A reviewer's comment attached to the front of the report said the consequences were "presumed" to be negligible. But it added: "Nevertheless, this unusual occurrence merits further study in order to adequately assess any potential risk of gene transfer."

Environmental groups warned of the dangers of allowing GM crops to be planted on a large scale. There are currently no commercial GM crop farms in Britain and interest has waned because of public opposition.

Emily Diamand, Friends of the Earth's GM campaigner, said:
... Quote:

The government's trials have already shown that growing GM crops can harm wildlife. Now we're seeing the real possibility of GM superweeds being created, with serious consequences for farmers and the environment.

The government must stop acting as cheerleader for GM crops and start paying attention to its own research, and above all, to the British public.

However, Dr Les Firbank, co-ordinator of the farm-scale evaluations of GM crops at the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, said the impact of the GM resistant weed would be pretty much non-existent.

It's recognised that gene flow from GM crops to wild relatives is a potential problem, but in this case it happens very, very rarely and there are no environmental consequences, he said.

Some people would say any gene flow at all is unacceptable. I personally think the risk is low enough to be acceptable.

Follow-up studies failed to find the hybrid, suggesting that the weed had died out.

Brian Johnson, an ecological geneticist and a member of the scientific group set up by the government to assess GM farm trials, said: I do not consider this to be a superweed. Hybrids really aren't terribly exciting. Most of them are sterile.

He added that the PCR test used was so sensitive it may have picked up pollen from the GM plants on the leaf of the charlock, producing a false positive result. I'm not totally convinced they found a hybrid.
By netchicken: posted on 30-7-2005

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