In Arkansas, researchers at the University of Arkansas have discovered wild canola growing that contains genes inserted into genetically modified canola grown on US farms. In addition, researchers discovered that the plants contained genes that create resistance to both Roundup Ready and Liberty Link, herbicides used on canola farms. The combination of resistance to both herbicides had not been previously deployed in canola crops.
“That’s not commercially available. That has to be happening in the wild,” said Arkansas graduate student Meredith Schafer said. “That leads us to believe that these wild populations have become established populations. Technically, these plants are not supposed to be able to compete in the wild. We really don’t know what the consequences of the gene escape are. We don’t know what these plants are going to do.”
Other researchers warned of another consequence: wild populations of weed canola will be increasingly difficult to remove using conventional herbicides.