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Genetically Modified Canola Evolving In The Wild

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  • Genetically Modified Canola Evolving In The Wild

    The latest issue of Scientific American has an interesting article on genetically modified canola plants. That genetically modified (GM) crops have gotten out of their intended fields and found their way into other cultivated fields is nothing new. What’s arresting here is that researchers have found GM plants in North Dakota in the wild, far away from any cultivation. “We found transgenic plants growing in the middle of nowhere, far from fields,” says ecologist Cindy Sagers of the University of Arkansas (U.A.) in Fayetteville. And they found them all over the place.

    Usually escaped hybrids die out quickly. That these strains are so widespread means they are “stable outside of cultivation” and are cross-pollinating with other varieties. The most powerful evidence of that was the discovery of strains with “stacked traits,” resistance to multiple herbicides, a condition researchers have been trying to develop in laboratories but which Nature has beaten them to. That means the canola plants are trading genetic material with other GM canola plants and evolving fairly quickly.

    The concern with this sort of survival in the wild and evolution is that characteristics meant to make a crop more hardy in the field will make the species in general more invasive, making it able to crowd other species out of fields. Hearty crops in the field where you want them are called “weeds” in fields where you don’t. So far, however, this more of a scientific curiosity than a cause for alarm, considering the fact that 90% of the U.S. canola ...


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  • #2
    All canola crops (rapeseed) are genetically modified. Canola is a man-made grain (CANada Oil Low Acid).

    This ranks right up there with the oil tsunami on the list of things to worry about... Right behind Langoliers and Space Invaders.
    Watts Up With That? | The world's most viewed site on global warming and climate change.


    • #3
      Please correct me if I'm wrong, but from my reading, Canola came about through selective breeding of a variety of Rapeseed whereas this new strain came about as a result of genetic modification through the use of recombinant DNA.


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