10 year study: GM plants in Nature
GroundCover™ Issue: 35
A 10-year study found no evidence of GM crop plants escaping into natural habitats over time, according to a study recendy published in the scientific journal Nature.
The study involved planting four GM and non-GM crops (canola, potato, corn and sugar beet) alongside each other in 12 different habitats and monitoring them over a 10-year period. The GM crops were either herbicide-tolerant or insect-resistant.
The UK-based study was established to investigate the validity of concerns that GM crops would become weeds and invade natural habitats, or that the introduced genes would be transferred by pollen to wild relatives whose hybrid offspring would then become weedy or invasive.
The plants did not become weedy, invasive or self-sustaining. The GM plants fared the same as the non-GM plants — within four years all the corn, beet and canola plots had died out. Only one plot of potatoes lasted the full decade, and all of the survivors were non-GM.