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Genetically Modified PlanetEnvironmental Impacts of Genetically Engineered Plants$
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C. Neal Stewart

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780195157451

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195157451.001.0001

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Gene Flow

Gene Flow

It's a Weed, It's a Transgene, It's Superweed!

Chapter:
(p.39) 4 Gene Flow
Source:
Genetically Modified Planet
Author(s):

C. Neal Stewart

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195157451.003.0004

People are worried about the creation of a “superweed” when transgenes move from crops to wild relatives that might already be weedy. One example of such an interbreeding crop-weed system is canola (a crop) and its wild relative (wild turnip). An insect resistant transgene was purposefully transferred from canola to wild turnip via hybridization, and the effects were observed. The result was not a superweed, but rather a weed that was not quite as competitive as the non-transgenic weed. Population genetics and forces of evolution, and how these might interact in shaping any superweed scenarios are discussed. It is argued that it will be very difficult for one or two transgenes to convert a weed into a superweed.

Keywords:   canola, competitive, wild turnip

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