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Scientists find the first evidence of genetically modified plants in the wild
Date:8/5/2010

Research is continually emerging on the impacts of invasive species, pollution and environmental disasters on ecosystems and communities. Ecological scientists will discuss widespread environmental changesfrom the recent discovery of genetically modified plants in the wild to the implications of mercury found in bottlenose dolphin skin, and even exploring society's reactive mode toward environmental disasters in the U.S.at the Ecological Society of America's 95th Annual Meeting in Pittsburgh from August 1-6, 2010. Below is a sampling of some of the research to be presented on a wide array of environmental issues:

Genetically modified canola plants in the wild

Scientists currently performing field research in North Dakota have discovered the first evidence of established populations of genetically modified plants in the wild. Meredith G. Schafer from the University of Arkansas and colleagues from North Dakota State University, California State University, Fresno and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency established transects of land along 5,400 km of interstate, state and county roads in North Dakota from which they collected, photographed and tested 406 canola plants.

The resultswhich were recorded in early July and are set to be presented at ESA's Annual Meeting in Pittsburghprovide strong evidence that transgenic plants have established populations outside of agricultural fields in the U.S. Of the 406 plants collected, 347 (86%) tested positive for CP4 EPSPS protein (confers tolerance to glyphosate herbicide) or PAT protein (confers tolerance to glufosinate herbicide).

"There were also two instances of multiple transgenes in single individuals," said one of the study's coauthors Cynthia Sagers, University of Arkansas. "Varieties with multiple transgenic traits have not yet been released commercially, so this finding suggests that feral populations are reproducing and have become established outside of cultivation.
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Contact: Katie Kline
katie@esa.org
202-833-8773 x211
Ecological Society of America
Source:Eurekalert

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