Saturday, August 7, 2010


"Outside a grocery store in Langdon, N.D., two ecologists spotted a yellow canola plant growing on the margins of a parking lot this summer. They plucked it, ground it up and, using a chemical stick similar to those in home pregnancy kits, identified proteins that were made by artificially introduced genes. The plant was GM—genetically modified.

...That likely means that transgenic canola plants are cross-pollinating in the wild—and swapping introduced genes. Although GM canola in the wild has been identified everywhere from Canada to Japan in previous research, this marks the first time such plants have been shown to be evolving in this way. "They had novel combinations of transgenic traits," Sagers says. "The most parsimonious explanation is these traits are stable outside of cultivation and they are evolving."

Escaped populations of such transgenic plants have generally died out quickly without continual replenishment from stray farm seeds in places such as Canada, but canola is capable of hybridizing with at least two—and possibly as many as eight—wild weed species in North America, including field mustard (Brassica rapa), which is a known agricultural pest. "Not only is it going to jump out of cultivation; there are sexually compatible weeds all over North America," Sagers says. Adds ecologist-in-training Meredith Schafer of U.A., who led the research, "It becomes a weed [farmers] can't control."
Scientific American

We never learn, do we? Now we've released a mutant strain of canola into the wild with no way to ever anticipate the possible distortions in nature that will come with it. Think kudzu and Asian carp.

What happens when the pollen from GM plants spreads into traditional crops? Do we end up destroying the health and stability of our food supply?

Or do we find that the entire world becomes a slave to the few companies that make the seed?

Bookmark and Share

No comments:

Post a Comment