Scientists have urged caution over a study which may have found a so-called 'superweed' growing at a site where GM crops had been trialled.
The charlock, a relative of oilseed rape, failed to shrivel up when daubed with the herbicide used to manage a biotech crop grown in the same field.
The creation of wild plants that pick up the traits of engineered crops has long been feared by anti-GM groups.
But researchers said their work showed the chances of such transfer were slim.
What is more, they argued, the study reinforced the view that the environmental impact was negligible.
'Herbicide-tolerant weeds tend to under-perform compared with wild type, so unless all its competitors have been sprayed out with the same herbicide, it won't thrive,' commented Dr Les Firbank, who led the consortium of scientists on the recent UK Farm-Scale Evaluations (FSEs) of genetically modified plants.
See, I think that Dr. Les is kind of a biased source. Much like Jim "Luddites are too technical for me" Jimson would be. No balance to the article. And, as much as the researchers would like to say that the chances were slim, the chances, as we can see, are not none. Which means there will be release into the wild. And this also means there could be re-introduction from the wild into domestic crops. And since there is no doubt a patent on this particular gene-mod I can see a bunch of farmers getting sued by some filthy Big Pharma company and a complacent and technologically ignorant government and judiciary going along with it.
In the end I see this kind of herbicide resistance as being related to our over use of anti-biotics. It will breed more resistant weds and the herbicides will grow progressivelyh stronger and more toxic.
Don't get me wrong, I am not inherently against genetic engineering - we've been doing it ever since we domesticated our first species and I see the potential for real benefit in terms of increased protein in staple crops and more weather resistant species - but to laugh off all resistance as foolish fear-mongering is, well, foolish.