- LONDON (Reuters) - Farmers
who plant genetically modified (GM) rapeseed may be creating new superweeds
resistant to all but the toughest herbicides, a report from the UK
advisory group on wildlife said on Tuesday.
- The report from English Nature, based on a study of three
types of gene-spliced rapeseed grown in Canada, showed that pollen from
seeds spilled 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
English Nature's biotechnology advisor Brian Johnson told Reuters.
- "The last thing farmers want is oilseed rape plants
in among 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
- "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
- "We're saying this is a bad idea because if you
do that, that one percent could be seeds made of three different GM
- "In agreeing threshholds for those seeds, the
Commission may well be producing exactly the type of problem we're seeing
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