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Daily News Archive
From July 29, 2005

GM Crops Create Herbicide Resistant Weed
(Beyond Pesticides, July 29, 2005)
In a recent study conducted by the Center for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH) of the United Kingdom , researchers find that oilseed rape genetically modified (GM) to resist the herbicide glufosinate ammonium passed the resistant properties to nearby weeds.

The CEH team collected more than 95,000 seeds of wild relatives in and around the experimental sites and grew them in greenhouses. These plants were then sprayed with glufosinate ammonium to see if cross breeding with the genetically modified rape had attributed to them acquiring herbicide tolerance. Two plants of turnip rape show resistance to these greenhouse treatments. The researchers also tested the resistance of the plants in the field sites, by applying the herbicide and looking for signs of die back. The charlock plant shows total resistance from these field tests. DNA tests confirm that the resistant charlock contained the modified gene.

This phenomena, known as gene flow, is the first known case in the United Kingdom. The Environment Minister Elliot Morley responded to the report stating, “We do... need to improve our understanding of all aspects of gene transfer and this means we must take this into account with individual GM applications.
Environmental groups feel that the incident merits concern. Friends of the Earth comments, "The government's trials have already shown that growing GM crops can harm wildlife. Now we're seeing the real possibility of GM superweeds being created, with serious consequences for farmers and the environment."

Read more about other incidences of genetic contamination and threats to the environment related to GM crops in Beyond Pesticides Daily News. In an attempt to monitor this problem Greenpeace and GeneWatch UK have also released an online database of GM incidences for more information on the prevalence of these incidences.

TAKE ACTION: Avoid genetically modified food and products made with genetically modified crops. Read more about the hazards of genetically modified crops and use safer organic alternatives. Contact your government representatives and let them know you want tighter controls on GM crops. Encourage you community to adopt a GM ban like California’s Medocino county plan or contact Beyond Pesticides for more resources.