The establishment of genetically engineered canola populations in the US

Oct 05, 2011

Large, persistent populations of genetically engineered canola 1 have been found outside of cultivation in North Dakota. As genetically engineered crops become increasingly prevalent in the United States, concerns remain about potential ecological side effects.

A study published today by the online journal reports that genetically engineered canola endowed with have been found growing outside of established cultivation regions along roadsides across North Dakota. These "escaped" plants were found state-wide and accounted for 45% of the total roadside plants sampled.

Furthermore, populations were found to persist from year to year and reach thousands of individuals. The authors also found that the escaped plants could hybridize with each other to create novel combinations of transgenic traits.

The authors argue that their result, more than 10 years after the initial release of genetically engineered canola, "raises questions of whether adequate oversight and monitoring protocols are in place in the U.S. to track the of biotech products." However, they also note that biotechnology can provide important tools to feed the rapidly growing . "We must safely engage all tools available to us to advance food, fuel and fiber alternatives as modern agriculture rises to the challenges of the next decade," they conclude.

"More than half of the earth's terrestrial landscape is managed in cultivated or forage species," says lead researcher Cynthia Sagers, "yet we have little understanding of how domesticated plants influence their wild relatives. This study is a first step in addressing these questions by documenting that domesticated species have a life outside of cultivated fields."

Explore further: Untangling DNA with a droplet of water, a pipet and a polymer

More information: Schafer MG, Ross AA, Londo JP, Burdick CA, Lee EH, et al. (2011) The Establishment of Genetically Engineered Canola Populations in the U.S.. PLoS ONE 6(10): e25736. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0025736

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Study cites abundance of genetically modified canola crops

Aug 14, 2010

Genetic engineering has been hailed as a tool to produce crops that are left unharmed by weed-killing pesticides and that are more productive than their forebears. But critics have worried that modified plants might take ...

Studying How Modified Genes Escape Into Nature

Feb 05, 2007

A University of Arkansas researcher and her colleagues are developing a way to examine how the genomes rearrange themselves during hybridization to better pinpoint how genetically modified organisms may behave ...

Researcher to Study Gene Flow 'Hot Spots' in Canola

Apr 24, 2008

A University of Arkansas researcher and her colleagues have won a joint grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency to look at the combined effects of global climate change on weed ...

Recommended for you

Cultivation of microalgae via an innovative technology

11 hours ago

Preliminary laboratory scale studies have shown consistent biomass production and weekly a thick microalgal biofilm could be harvested. A new and innovative harvesting device has been developed for ALGADISK able to directly ...

Refined method to convert lignin to nylon precursor

12 hours ago

A new study from the Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) demonstrates the conversion of lignin-derived compounds to adipic acid, an important industrial dicarboxylic acid produced for its use as ...

Living in the genetic comfort zone

Feb 26, 2015

The information encoded in the DNA of an organism is not sufficient to determine the expression pattern of genes. This fact has been known even before the discovery of epigenetics, which refers to external ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

tLg
not rated yet Oct 05, 2011
wow 45% - that's scary. Considering, how can the patenting of life, aside from being unethical, be remotely feasible?

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.