Modified crops could corrupt weedy cousins


By Ian Sample TRAITS such as herbicide resistance could spread from genetically modified oilseed rape to its wild relatives if the crop were widely grown in Britain. The first large-scale study of gene flow suggests that hybridisation between crops and weeds is rare—but does occur. Using satellite images covering 15 000 square kilometres of southern England, Mike Wilkinson and his colleagues at the University of Reading identified fields where normal oilseed rape or canola (Brassica napus) was being grown. A close relative of oilseed rape, the wild turnip Brassica rapa, grows mostly along river banks,
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