Independent Scientists from the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH) recently completed a contract for Defra titled “Monitoring movement of herbicide resistant genes from farm-scale evaluation field sites to populations of wild crop relatives".Rapefield

The full report has now been published on the Defra website and can be found by following the link below.

Commenting on the report Dr Les Firbank, co-ordinator of the farm-scale evaluations of GM crops at the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, said the impact of GM resistant weeds would be "pretty much non-existent".

"It's recognised that gene flow from GM crops to wild relatives is a potential problem, but in this case it happens very, very rarely and there are no environmental consequences," he said. "Some people would say any gene flow at all is unacceptable. I personally think the risk is low enough to be acceptable."

Dr Rosie Hails, head of the Pathogen Population Ecology Research Team within the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology said: “Hybrids between these two species referred to in the study (oil seed rape and Sinapis arvensis) are not only rare, but previous studies have shown they do not produce viable seeds. Thus they do not persist - and so are not weeds, let alone superweeds.”

Additional Information

“Monitoring movement of herbicide resistant genes from farm-scale evaluation field sites to populations of wild crop relatives" - Report text published on the Defra website

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