LITTLE ROCK, Ark., Aug. 6 (UPI) — Genetically modified canola plants have escaped from North Dakota farms and are growing wild along the state’s roadsides, researchers say.
Eighty percent of plants collected along interstate, state and county roads tested positive for transgenic proteins that make canola resistant to herbicides such as Roundup, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported Friday.
“Varieties with multiple transgenic traits have not yet been released commercially,” Cynthia Sagers, an associate professor of biological sciences at the University of Arkansas, said, “so this finding suggests that feral populations are reproducing and have become established outside of cultivation.”
Farmers in the United States and Canada grow herbicide-resistant genetically modified canola because it makes weed control easier. As much as 80 percent of the canola crop in Western Canada by acreage is the genetically modified variety, the Canola Council of Canada said.
Environmental groups say they’ve long worried about the spread of genetically modified plants and their genes.
Groups like Greenpeace say if wild plants crossbreed with transgenic crops that are herbicide-resistant, “superweeds” resistant to herbicides could form, the CBC said.
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