Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


GE Plants Spread Genes into Wild Relatives

GE Plants Spread Genes into Wild Relatives: Brassica Risk
A recent study by Warrick (1) has confirmed that genetically modified Ready Roundup (RR) Brassica can escape and outcross with wild relatives.
The study conducted in Canada with GE RR Canola (Brassica napus) and the weedy relative Wild Mustard (Brassica rapa). Scientists reported that the RR Canola transgene outcrossed readily and persisted in the weedy mustard relative and was passed on to further generations.  This supports earlier findings in England that outcrossing is very common in brassica species.
The findings add to concerns about the risks of GE brassica being developed and trialled by Crop and Food Research in New Zealand. Brassica is the name given to plants belonging to the Cabbage family from cauliflower, broccoli, to turnips and forage kale.  Brassica are highly promiscuous and readily transfer genes between plant relatives.
The study was carried out over 6 years and found that the transgene was stably integrated into the weedy descendants over that time. However, the transgenic Brassica plants had reduced male fertility and reduced pollen viability. 
One FI GM hybrid plant still produced 480 seeds of which 22 carried the transgene. The plants persisted regardless of Roundup spraying and fitness costs associated with selection pressure.
“This transgenic escape into wild weedy relatives supports concerns that GE brassica are a threat here," said Claire Bleakley of GE Free (NZ) in food and environment “Once released out of laboratory containment, GM pollen will spread to other brassica species both weedy and food plants,  contaminating the environment and food chain”.
“The worst part of this is the plants may contain mixtures of GM insecticidal and herbicide resistant toxins that could affect pollinating insects and the wider food chain and it will be the farmers, market gardeners and Councils who will be liable for cleanup and compensation costs. 
GE Free (NZ) in food and environment believe that ERMA and Crop and Food Research must look into the new information on the ability of transgenes to outcross, integrate and survive in the wild under competitive selection pressure.
There are no studies on human safety and if levels of toxins cannot be controlled there may be long term health effects on animals and people. The research is reason to re-assess their approval of the Bt GM Brassica trial.

(1)The case of an herbicide resistance transgene in a weedy Brassica rapa population To cite this article: S. I. WARWICK, A. LEGERE, M.-J. SIMARD, T. JAMES Molecular Ecology 2007 Oct 29 2007; http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1365-294X.2007.03567.x
Wilkinson M., Elliott L., Allainguillaume J., Shaw M., Norris C., Welters R., Alexander M., Sweet J., and  Mason D. Hybridization Between Brassica napus and B. rapa on a National Scale in the United Kingdom Science 17 October 2003: Vol. 302. no. 5644, pp. 457 – 459 DOI: 10.1126/science.1088200 http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/short/302/5644/457


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines


Mt Roskill: Greens Will Not Stand In Likely Post-Goff By-Election

“The Green Party’s priority is changing the Government in 2017, and as part of that we’ve decided that we won’t stand a candidate in the probable Mt Roskill by-election... This decision shows the Memorandum of Understanding between Labour and the Green Party is working." More>>


Wellington: Predator Free Capital Plan

Wellington City Council (WCC), the Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC) and NEXT Foundation, today announced a joint collaboration to make Wellington the first Predator Free capital city in the world. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Judith Collins’ Efforts At Self Correction

Thousands of prisoners currently in prison may be entitled to an earlier release than expected – and compensation – because Corrections has incorrectly calculated their term of imprisonment. Unless of course, the government buries its mistakes by changing the law and retro-actively getting itself off the hook… More>>


More Justice & Corrections

Sector Opposes Bill: Local Government Bill Timeframe Extended

The Minister of Local Government Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga has asked the Select Committee to extend the report back date for the Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill (No 2). More>>


Breed Laws Don’t Work: Vets On New National Dog Control Plan

It is pleasing therefore to see Louise Upston Associate Minister for Local Government calling for a comprehensive solution... However, relying on breed specific laws to manage dog aggression will not work. More>>


Not Waiting On Select Committee: Green Party Releases Medically-Assisted Dying Policy

“Adults with a terminal illness should have the right to choose a medically assisted death,” Green Party health spokesperson Kevin Hague said. “The Green Party does not support extending assisted dying to people who aren't terminally ill because we can’t be confident that this won't further marginalise the lives of people with disabilities." More>>


General Election Review: Changes To Electoral Act Introduced

More effective systems in polling places and earlier counting of advanced votes are on their way through proposed changes to our electoral laws, Justice Minister Amy Adams says. More>>

Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news