Friday, August 23, 2013

Thanks for the Super Genes - Weeds Receive Transgenic Material From GMOs

GMOs and wild weeds become friends with benefits...

Heather Callaghan
Activist Post

A lot of GMO talk surrounds the rapidly growing appearance of superweeds due to herbicide resistance. Did you too suspect that genetically modified plants were also transferring their genetic material to these weeds? In addition to resistance from repeated use of herbicides, some 'Hulked' out weeds now have an even greater genetic survival advantage by taking on transgenic material from GMOs.

Nature reports:
A genetic-modification technique used widely to make crops herbicide resistant has been shown to confer advantages on a weedy form of rice, even in the absence of the herbicide. [emphasis added]
That would mean the weed form could potentially take its new-found benefits into the wild - and spread them. Of course, this type of glyphosate pesticide (Roundup) resistance spread through cross pollination hasn't been studied much until recently. That's because biotech giants who own patents on the technology aren't willing to let academic researchers poke around.