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Agronomy 2015, 5(1), 21-34;

Benefits of Transgenic Insect Resistance in Brassica Hybrids under Selection

Department of Biological Sciences, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR 72701 USA
United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Geneva, NY 14456 USA
Plant Biology Division, Institute of Biological Sciences, University of the Philippines Los Baños, Laguna 4031, Philippines
US Environmental Protection Agency, Western Ecology Division, National Health and Environmental Effects Research Lab, Corvallis, OR 97333, USA
CSS-Dynamac, Corvallis, OR 97333, USA
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Peter Langridge
Received: 4 September 2014 / Accepted: 29 December 2014 / Published: 8 January 2015
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Field trials of transgenic crops may result in unintentional transgene flow to compatible crop, native, and weedy species. Hybridization outside crop fields may create novel forms with potential negative outcomes for wild and weedy plant populations. We report here the outcome of large outdoor mesocosm studies with canola (Brassica napus), transgenic canola, a sexually compatible weed B. rapa, and their hybrids. Brassica rapa was hybridized with canola and canola carrying a transgene for herbivore resistance (Bt Cry1Ac) and grown in outdoor mesocosms under varying conditions of competition and insect herbivory. Treatment effects differed significantly among genotypes. Hybrids were larger than all other genotypes, and produced more seeds than the B. rapa parent. Under conditions of heavy herbivory, plants carrying the transgenic resistance were larger and produced more seeds than non-transgenic plants. Pollen derived gene flow from transgenic canola to B. rapa varied between years (5%–22%) and was not significantly impacted by herbivory. These results confirm that canola-weed hybrids benefit from transgenic resistance and are aggressive competitors with congeneric crops and ruderals. Because some crop and crop-weed hybrids may be competitively superior, escapees may alter the composition and ecological functions of plant communities near transgenic crop fields. View Full-Text
Keywords: Brassica; Bt Cry1Ac; feral species; herbivory; Plutella xylostella; risk assessment; weed evolution Brassica; Bt Cry1Ac; feral species; herbivory; Plutella xylostella; risk assessment; weed evolution

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Sagers, C.L.; Londo, J.P.; Bautista, N.; Lee, E.H.; Watrud, L.S.; King, G. Benefits of Transgenic Insect Resistance in Brassica Hybrids under Selection. Agronomy 2015, 5, 21-34.

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