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Despite confinement, crop genes can spread fast to wild

MADISON - With the slim chance that farmers will stop planting crops containing genes from other organisms, researchers have started to develop strategies that trap these foreign genes, reducing the risk that they'll spread to wild relatives.

But an investigation by scientists from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Minnesota-St. Paul shows that these containment st......

Full article >>> ue called the "exorcist" induces certain chemical reactions inside the plant cell that pulls out and eliminates the transgene once the plant no longer needs it. Another technique involves inserting the artificial gene near a gene that's bad for the plant under wild conditions, making it unlikely that the transgene, should it escape, will spread in the wild population.

The gene-confinement......

Full article >>> ene under wild conditions.

By considering these factors, the researchers not only could calculate the probability of genes spreading to wild populations, but also the probability that they will be passed on to future generations. Successful transgene escape, notes Haygood, depends on the survival of the gene.

With the model, the team estimated how many growing seasons it would ta......

Full article >>> account different scenarios. "The abstract structure of the model," explains Haygood, "will be the same."

One of the key messages of the research paper, the researchers emphasize, is that scientists will need to develop containment strategies with the smallest possible leakage rate to minimize the chances of transgene escape within short periods of time.

David Andow adds, "We re......

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'"/> By Emily Carlson 02/25/04

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