What is the likelihood the new genes in crops derived through biotechnology will be transferred to wild plants?
The answer to this question varies with the crop, the location where it is grown and the wild plant. The one general statement that is true for all crops is that genes can potentially be transferred only in those locations where the crop has wild relatives. Therefore, to assess the likelihood of gene flow from any crop to its wild relative, first determine whether the crop is growing in a geographic region that contains wild relatives. If not, the likelihood of gene transfer is zero. If wild relatives are growing in close proximity to the crop, then a number of factors influence the likelihood of gene flow, such as the distance viable crop pollen can travel, the amount of crop pollen produced, the mode of pollination, and the number of wild plants in proximity to the crop.
- If pollen from a crop derived through biotechnology is carried to a wild relative, are the genes automatically transferred to the wild relative?
- Can herbicide tolerant genes move from crops derived through biotechnology into weeds and create "superweeds?"
- Can cross-pollination occur between crops derived through biotechnology and wild, native plants?