Biotech Updates

Bt Rice in China Unlikely to Increase Unintended Ecological Risk

January 18, 2023

Researchers from the Huazhong Agricultural University in Wuhan, China conducted field trials to investigate weed competitiveness and assess the ecological risk of transgenic Bt rice in herbicide-free and lepidopteran pest-controlled environments. They found out that the ecological risk of the Bt rice is comparable to its non-Bt counterpart.

The researchers aimed to understand better if the expression of the Bt gene in rice will affect the relationship between transgene plants and weeds and then cause undesirable environmental consequences. They set up field trials in 2018 with five Bt hybrid rice materials and three non-Bt hybrids as control cultivars. After gathering data, they found that Bt traits did not increase the weed competitiveness of Bt rice. The insect number and diversity also were not significantly different between Bt and non-Bt plots. To conclude, Bt rice seeds flow to the environment or Bt gene flow into weedy relatives will not likely contribute to the evolution of insect resistance and cause further unintended ecological problems.

For further details, see the Journal of Integrative Agriculture.

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