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.