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Gene flow offers no long-term advantage for weedy rice

Gene flow from transgenic Bt rice to its wild relatives is unlikely to provide a long-term advantage to hybrid weeds under normal or high pest pressure, according to the results of a study by researchers from China’s Fudan University (Shanghai) and the Fujian Academy of Agricultural Sciences (Fuzhou). The introgression of transgenes from cultivated GM rice to weedy red rice cannot be avoided because of their similar flowering times and cross-fertility, the study points out. The advantage conferred by an insect resistance transgene is closely linked to variability in pest pressure, with an enhanced fitness benefit associated with high herbivorous pest pressure, and a reduction in overall fitness when pest pressure was reduced.

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