QAbout regulation... Another answer by Steve Savage says the following -- "The USDA considers whether there are any “plant pest” issues with the specific crop and trait such as the ability to cross with weedy relatives." and "The EPA gets involved if

About regulation... Another answer by Steve Savage says the following -- "The USDA considers whether there are any “plant pest” issues with the specific crop and trait such as the ability to cross with weedy relatives." and "The EPA gets involved if there is anything pesticide-related to do with the trait such as tolerance to a herbicide". Ok, so we now have proof that Roundup Ready cotton has crossed with Pig Weed, and according to a NY Times article Monsanto is actually funding the use of highly toxic herbicides to eradicate this super weed. So doesn't this mean that Roundup Ready products must be reviewed again, and possibly pulled from the market?

AExpert Answer

No, this is not an example of a biotech crop crossing with a weed. The “pig weed” in question here is actually what is known as Palmer Amaranth―a serious weed problem in its own right, regardless of herbicide tolerance. As with many other weeds that have become resistant to herbicides, including those long before biotechnology, it is not an issue of the tolerance moving to the weed by outcrossing, but rather that the use of the herbicide selects for resistant types that occur within the natural genetic diversity of the weed population. If anything, the issue has been that farmers have relied too heavily on Roundup and, in the case of this weed, have used it at lower rates that facilitated the adaptation of the resistant types over time. The best way to control weeds without selecting for resistance is to use different approaches over time to minimize that selection pressure. As for what herbicides are used to control the resistant types, they are not “highly toxic” in the sense that people imagine. They are toxic to the weed but generally not to animals, insects, etc. Weed control is, and always has been, a major challenge for farmers. Doing it with mechanical tillage mechanisms is problematic for the environment (erosion, loss of soil organic matter, high fuel consumption…). Herbicides, carefully and strategically used, are the best option.

Posted on January 31, 2018
Thank you for your question. There are various aspects of your question. I assume your question refers to the use of Agrobacterium rhizogenes by scientists to intentionally transfer genes from the bacterium to plants. Infection and DNA transfer from this bacterium occurs in nature all the time to cause disease. Such transformed plants are not classified as GMOs since transfer occurred naturally. If this is done by scientists then it would be classified as a GMO. Rules and... Read More
Answer:
Posted on March 1, 2018
I’m a Monsanto scientist who has more than 20 years of experience with genetic modification of plants. I will try to answer your question, even though I don’t ever do experiments on animals, certainly not on humans, of course! Can humans be genetically modified…but a much bigger question is should humans be genetically modified? There are two ways to think about genetic modification of humans (or any animal). One way is modification of somatic cells, and the other is the... Read More
Answer:
Posted on May 10, 2017
The simple answer is that 20+ years of composition assessments of GMO crops have demonstrated that crop composition is not appreciably affected by the GM process (1). In addition, data collected through that time have indicated that general factors such as the growth environment can contribute to notable variation in component levels (2). Plant agglutinins (or lectins) and amylase inhibitors are examples of anti-nutritional compounds that may be present in crops. The relevance of such a... Read More