Pacific Edge Permaculture + Media pacedge at magna.com.au
Thu Feb 7 00:38:29 EST 2002


UK report says gene crops could create superweed

LONDON - Farmers who plant genetically modified (GM) rapeseed may be
creating new superweeds resistant to all but the toughest herbicides, a
report from the UK government's advisory group on wildlife said yesterday

The report from English Nature, based on a study of three types of
gene-spliced rapeseed grown in Canada, showed that pollen from seeds spilt
during harvest can cross-pollinate with the other varieties and become
resistant to multiple herbicides.

"The plants themselves become weeds in the next crop - it's very difficult
to kill the oilseed rape plants when they come up the next year and of
course they come up in another crop like corn," English Nature's
biotechnology advisor Brian Johnson told Reuters.

"The last thing farmers want is oilseed rape plants in amongst the corn.
It's becoming an agricultural problem and farmers are having to use older
herbicides to control them - those herbicides are less environmentally
friendly and more toxic," he added.

Johnson said the government should limit the number of herbicide-resistant
varieties to prevent the problem of super resistant plants arising in
Britain if commercial growing of GM crops is approved.

"What we're saying is that the limit might be one variety instead of three
as seen in Canada," he said.

He also urged a re-think of the European Commission's recent proposal for a
one percent threshold of GM seed in batches of conventional seed.

"We're saying this is a bad idea because if you do that, that one percent
could be seeds made of three different GM varieties," he said.

"In agreeing threshholds for those seeds, the European Commission may well
be producing exactly the type of problem we're seeing in Canada."

Source: REUTERS NEWS SERVICE, February 6 2002

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