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Post-harvest gene escape and approaches for minimizing it

Abstract : Data about gene escape by seeds and volunteers were compiled for the first time in one study for several crops, i.e. wheat (Triticum aestivum), sugar beet (Beta vulgaris), oilseed rape/canola (Brassica napus) and maize (Zea mays). These species represent important genetically modified (GM) crops with herbicide tolerance (HT) or insect resistance (Bt), show different levels of autogamy and allogamy and are grown in different climatic zones of the world. Post-harvest measures and strategies were identified for minimizing gene escape from these crops. All species were found to cause problems in terms of gene escape by seed and volunteers though there are important differences between species and climatic zones. Post-harvest tillage was identified as a key factor for reducing the soil seed bank and volunteers. Timing and intensity of tillage has to be specifically adapted to the dormancy characteristics of each species. Furthermore, there is a close interaction between gene escape and the cropping system. Rotations should avoid the same crop or other critical crops in temporal vicinity to the GM crop in order to keep volunteer populations below a critical density. In no-till systems with use of HT varieties, HT volunteers can reduce the efficiency of the whole system if additional herbicides have to be applied. Seed impurities and admixtures during seed production are another major source of gene escape. Since seed lots of certified growers present less adventitious presence of other varieties, these should be preferred to farm saved seeds. Education of farmers, cleaning of equipment, control measures and separate production and supply chains are additionally important to minimize gene escape.
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Submitted on : Friday, September 11, 2015 - 8:19:14 PM
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S. Gruber, Nathalie Colbach, Aude Barbottin, C. Pekrun. Post-harvest gene escape and approaches for minimizing it. CAB Reviews Perspectives in Agriculture Veterinary Science Nutrition and Natural Resources, CABI, 2008, 3 (015), pp.1-17. ⟨10.1079/PAVSNNR20083015⟩. ⟨hal-01197781⟩



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