Hybridization Between GM and Non-GM Plants Inevitable, Study Finds

Confirming the fears of opponents of genetic modification, cross pollination between modified and wild plants cannot be prevented and could lead to the creation of hybrid “superweeds,” according to Britain’s first national study of how genes pass from crops to weeds. The findings differ from earlier research on gene flow, which found minimal danger of hybridization. By contrast, the current study, which analyzed satellite images of the British countryside and patrolled 180 miles of river banks, found that hybridization is widespread, frequent, and not well contained by physical barriers such as buffer zones. If hybridization involved a genetically modified gene that was advantageous to weeds, the hybrid could quickly spread and pose a major agriculture threat, they found.