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Crop Biotech Update

Scientists Study Transgene Flow in Rice Fields

April 20, 2012

The flow of transgenes from GE crops to non-GE crops and wild relatives through pollen-mediated gene flow (PMGF) is one of the food and biosafety concerns addressed prior to commercial release. It is not clear if the level of PMGF in small scale study areas could represent the degree of transgene flow in large production scales. This led Jun Rong from Fudan University and other scientists to conduct a study.

The team estimated the average PMGF frequencies from three insect resistant lines to their non-GE counterparts at four scales ranging from 9 to 576 m2, where the ratio of GE plants and non-GE plants was 8:1. They examined about 1.3 million seedlings from non-GE rice plots and found very low frequencies (<0.1%) of transgene flow. The highest frequencies of transgene flow were detected in plots at the smallest scales, implying that scale has significantly negative effect on PMGF in rice, with decreasing gene flow as the scale increased. Results of the study could provide insights in predicting transgene flow levels at large production scales.

The research article is available at;jsessionid=78BCF5CBFCD980C4886A053D4EEA176F.d02t01?.userIsAuthenticated=