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GMO Crop Weed Hybrids Destroys Genetic Diversity

Researchers at Fudan University in Shanghai, China show GM crop-weed hybrids could outcompete wild relatives.

Source: http://www.gmoevidence.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/GMO-weeds.pdf

Summary:

Understanding evolutionary interactions among crops and weeds can facilitate effective weed management. For example, gene flow from crops to their wild or weedy relatives can lead to rapid evolution in recipient populations. In rice (Oryza sativa), transgenic herbicide resistance is expected to spread to conspecific weedy rice (Oryza sativa f.spontanea) via hybridization.

Here, we studied fitness effects of transgenic over-expression of a native 5-enolpyruvoylshikimate-3-phosphate synthase (epsps) gene developed to confer glyphosate resistance in rice. Controlling for genetic background, we examined physiological traits and field performance of crop–weed hybrid lineages that segregated for the presence or absence of this novel epspstransgene.

Surprisingly, we found that transgenic F2 crop–weed hybrids produced 48–125% more seeds per plant than nontransgenic controls in monoculture- and mixed-planting designs without glyphosate application. Transgenic plants also had greater EPSPS protein levels, tryptophan concentrations, photosynthetic rates, and per cent seed germination compared with nontransgenic controls.

Our findings suggest that over-expression of a native rice epsps gene can lead to fitness advantages, even without exposure to glyphosate. We hypothesize that over-expressed epsps may be useful to breeders and, if deployed, could result in fitness benefits in weedy relatives following transgene introgression.

Authors: Wei Wang , Hui Xia, Xiao Yang, Ting Xu, Hong Jiang Si, Xing Xing Cai, Feng Wang, Jun Su, Allison A. Snow and Bao-Rong Lu