Environment health consciousness

GE Breeding Superweeds

According to the first national UK study of how genes pass from crops to weeds, cross pollination, and the transfer of GE pesticide resistance of crops (such as Monsanto’s RoundUp-ready corn strains) to weeds, is inevitable and may create superweeds resistant to the most powerful herbicides.

A study of 180 miles (300kms) of river frontage in the UK found that hybridisation of weeds assuming GE crops’ characteristics was far more widespread and common than previously thought.

Researchers say that physical barriers such as buffer zones would have only a minimal impact on reducing hybridisation, or cross breeding.

This study was produced by The Natural Environment Research Council and the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology in Dorset and published in the journal Science.

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Coupled with Monsanto’s successful legal suits against farmers whose crops had been unwittingly contaminated by Monsanto’s GE strains, who were ruled to have infringed upon Monsanto’s copyrighted property, this kind of research serves as a warning about allowing GE crops in any area where non GE crops are grown.

It also demonstrates again that the science of GE is in its infancy and the risks of widespread contamination are not acceptable.

Once this genie is out of its bottle, there is no putting it back in. The precautionary principle needs to be adhered to.

By Mark O’Brien

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