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Mutant plants as toxic as GM parent - study

02.12.2002
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Mutant plants as toxic as GM parent - study
LONDON - Genetically modified plants can pass on the same level of toxicity to insects even when they are cross-bred with \"natural\" plants, scientists in the United States have shown.
A study by researchers at the University of North Carolina will concern environmentalists who say planted GM crops have cross-pollinated with normal plants to create \"superweeds\" that are resistant to insect attack and could spread rapidly. \"It shows that GM crops can irreversibly pass on their genes to wild plants and contaminate our natural heritage,\" Greenpeace spokesman, Ben Alyffe told Reuters. \"Once we release GM crops there\'s no going back. The genie is out of the bottle.\" The lab experiment cross-pollinated oilseed rape (canola) containing an anti-pest gene with its natural relative, birdseed rape. Five of the 11 resulting hybrids \"expressed the insecticide produced by the gene at levels similar to the GM parent and were highly toxic to insects,\" the New Scientist said. Alyffe said oilseed rape was a particular problem because it pollinated so widely. Earlier this year Canada\'s expert panel on biotechnology was reported as saying that GM superweeds had invaded Canadian farms. REUTERS NEWS SERVICE
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