By Richard Black
Researchers in the US have found new evidence that genetically modified crop plants can survive and thrive in the wild, possibly for decades. A University of Arkansas team surveyed countryside in North Dakota for canola. Transgenes were present in 80% of the wild canola plants they found. They suggest GM traits may help the plants survive weedkillers in the wild. The findings were presented at the annual meeting of the Ecological Society of America in Pittsburgh.
“We just drew 11 lines that crossed the state [of North Dakota] – highways and other roads,” related research team leader Cindy Sagers.
“We drove along them, we made 604 stops in a total distance of over 3,000 miles (5,000km). We found canola in 46% of the locations; and 80% of them contained at least one transgene.”
In some places, the plants were packed as closely together as they are in farmers’ fields.
“We found herbicide resistant canola in roadsides, waste places, ball parks, grocery stores, gas stations and cemeteries,” they related in their Ecological Society presentation.
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