Britain’s First “Superweed”

Sorry for not being around today — had to attend another meeting at school, which means more time driving than meeting. Not a sustainable way to work, for a number of reasons, but we’re all doing what we can, right?

My headline does not refer to the motivation for a new Cheech and Chong movie (or Harold and Kumar for you youngsters ;-)), but rather the result of genetically-modified crops breeding with a native species of British weed, according to this article from Scotsman.com.

It was previously thought that the weed, charlock, would not be able to interbreed with genetically altered oilseed rape plants.

But government scientists have found a hybrid plant at the margins of a field where a trial crop had been planted. Tests showed it was unaffected by the same herbicides that the GM crop was designed to resist.

Environmentalists said the discovery of the superweed showed there would be serious consequences if GM crops were allowed to be grown commercially, as farmers would be forced to use even more herbicide to stop charlock and other resistant weeds from taking over the field.

As you might imagine, GMO proponents are saying “Move along… nothing to see here…” But it seems to me (correct me if I’m wrong) that supporters of GMOs have pooh-poohed the notion that genetically-modified organisms would, you know, interact with the other organisms in a given ecosystem. Whether this superweed is super or not, doesn’t this undermine the notion that we can control the effects of such modifications?

Thanks, Doug, for the heads-up…

UPDATE: In the interest of covering all sides of this story, here’s a BBC article that focuses on criticism of the “superweed” claim.

Technorati tags: , ,

Buy Mae-wan Ho’s GMO: Exposing the Hazards of Biotechnology to Ensure the Integrity of Our Food Supply at Powells.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *