Weed misdeeds

Published: Monday 15 January 1996

Researchers at the Scottish Crop Research Institute near Dundee, working on the oilseed rape plant, have concluded that pollen from the genetically engineered crop actually spreads to a larger distance than earlier thought, and fertilises other plants thus imparting its genetic make up including the asset of immunity from pesticides. It was considered before that pollen from the genetically engineered crop fields did not spread too far and that the danger of the crossing of genes into other plants was negligible. Says Mike Wilkinson, one of the researchers, "We've shown that there will be gene flow further, and in much larger quantities than was predicted." This could create unforeseen problems like herbicide -resistant crops spreading to become superweeds in fields of other plants.

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