Tests of sunflowers show for the first time that a gene from a genetically engineered crop gives a wild, weedy relative an edge in life outdoors, say researchers. That extra toughness feeds worries that genes escaping from transgenic crops could create feistier weeds.
Thanks to a gene borrowed from the Bacillus thuringiensis bacterium, the sunflower variety used in the test makes built-in Bt pesticide. When researchers crossed these souped-up plants with wild sunflowers, the Bt gene passed to some of the offspring, report Allison Snow of Ohio State University in Columbus and her colleagues.
Note: To comment, Science News subscribing members must now establish a separate login relationship with Disqus. Click the Disqus icon below, enter your e-mail and click “forgot password” to reset your password. You may also log into Disqus using Facebook, Twitter or Google.