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Genetically Modified Plants "on the loose": a first evidence of GM plants on the wild according to scientists

The first evidence of genetically engineered plants growing in the wild has been found and reported by a team of scientists conducting research in North Dakota.

This is one of the heated topics presented at the 95th Annual Meeting recently conducted in Pittsburg and organized by the Ecological Society of America (i.e. August 1-6, 2010). With a theme revolving around the impacts of invasive species, pollution and environmental disasters on the ecosystem, significant environmental changes occurred through the time. One of these changes is the recently found evidence of genetically engineered plants in the wild.

Meredith G. Schafer of the University of Arkansas and colleagues from different organizations reported their findings regarding a study they conducted on canola plants thriving in different cuts of land in North Dakota. In 406 canola plants collected, Schafer's research team was able to provide proof of transgenic plants that have grown outside agricultural fields. Of the 406 plants, 86% was positive for CP4 EPSPS protein (confers tolerance to glyphosate herbicide) or PAT protein (confers tolerance to glufosinate herbicide).

Cynthia Sagers of University of Arkansas said that there were also instances of multiple transgenes in single individuals. Further she explains, "Varieties with multiple transgenic traits have not yet been released commercially, so this finding suggests that feral populations are reproducing and have become established outside of cultivation. These observations have important implications for the ecology and management of native and weedy species, as well as for the management of biotech products in the U.S."

~ Adapted by Vicki Mozo from a press release of Ecological Society of America entitled "Scientists find the first evidence of genetically modified plants in the wild" in http://www.esa.org/pao/newsroom/press2010/08062010.php.

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