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New research results: Environmental risks of genetic engineering plants underestimated

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Research results from China show that plants made resistant to glyphosate by genetic engineering have a surprisingly high potential for uncontrolled spread.

According to Testbiotech, a German organization critical of genetic engineering, current research results from China show a new dimension of the environmental risks of genetically modified plants.The additional genes built into the plants can significantly increase the risk of their propagation in the environment. This has now been proven in genetic engineering plants that are made resistant to the glyphosate spray.

If the genetic engineering plants cross with natural populations, the offspring have a clear survival advantage and can spread the transgenic DNA much faster than previously assumed. The new studies show that this environmental risk depends solely on the additional gene inserted, but not, as previously assumed, on the use of glyphosate. Stress conditions such as heat and drought can exacerbate the effect.

Genetically modified plants with a resistance to glyphosate have been commercially cultivated for over 20 years and are the most frequently used genetic engineering seeds worldwide. Nevertheless, their increased potential for uncontrolled spread has not yet been thoroughly investigated in any of the official approval procedures, says Testbiotech.


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