Could a herbicide-resistance gene provide fitness benefits in the absence of the herbicide?

A really interesting study was reported by Nature News, and has been picking up steam around the interwebs (including Wired and Scientific American). The headlines read “Genetically modified crops pass benefits to weeds” and “weeds get unintended ‘fitness’ boost from genetic modification.” The stories are reporting on a study in New Phytologist titled “A novel EPSP synthase transgene for glyphosate resistance stimulates growth and fecundity in weedy rice (Oryza sativa) without herbicide.” Sorry, not open access. I’ve read the paper a …

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Using ethofumesate when irrigating for emergence

by Andrew Kniss & Abdel Mesbah At a recent meeting in Powell, I was asked how to best use ethofumesate (active ingredient in Nortron SC and other herbicides) in fields that must be furrow irrigated for sugarbeet emergence. This is a difficult question. Ethofumesate (and almost all soil applied herbicides) require soil moisture to be effective. Ideally, residual herbicides should be applied to the soil shortly before either rainfall or overhead irrigation. Growers who have sprinkler systems in their field …

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Do genetically engineered crops really increase herbicide use?

Another interesting article about GMOs has been making the rounds today. This one was written by Dr. Charles Benbrook, Chief Science Consultant for The Organic Center. This publication is an updated version of a report that The Organic Center published in 2009. The new version has been published in “Environmental Sciences Europe” and can be downloaded here for free (hooray for open access!). The title of the article is “Impacts of genetically engineered crops on pesticide use in the U.S. — the first …

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Why I think the Seralini GM feeding trial is bogus

UPDATE: If you’re looking for information on the ‘republished’ version of this manuscript, a full statistical analysis of the released data can be found here. If you’re following the news about the French GM maize feeding trial, you’ve probably heard: (A) we need to pull GMO crops off the market immediately; or (B) that the study is flawed and is basically meaningless. I guess I find myself leaning toward the second group on this one. Here is why I think the …

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Some comments on the Purdue glyphosate-disease article

I’ve noticed a very interesting headline making the rounds on Twitter the last couple days. The headline: “Glyphosate-resistant ‘superweeds’ may be less susceptible to diseases” originated with a press release from Purdue University. The article’s headline is apparently taken from a rather speculative quote by one of the co-authors of the study, Dr. Steve Hallett: “We may be selecting not only for glyphosate resistance, but inadvertently selecting for weeds that have disease resistance as well.” Dr. Hallet’s statement seems to be speculative, and …

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Weed control in sainfoin

UPDATE For a full list of herbicides registered for use in sainfoin, see this post: Herbicides for sainfoin Sainfoin is being promoted by a variety of sources as a good forage alternative to alfalfa. It has many desirable attributes: it has high nutritional content, it seems well adapted to Wyoming (particularly northern Wyoming), and it does not cause bloat so it can be grazed. The University of Wyoming has released 2 varieties of sainfoin that are well adapted to the …

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Don’t Destroy Research!

3 simple steps for anti-GMO activists: Oppose GMO crops on the basis that there is insufficient publicly funded research. Destroy publicly funded research. Go to 1. There have been opponents of biotechnology derived crops (often referred to as genetically modified organisms, GMOs, or GM crops) since before the commercial introduction of this technology in the mid-1990s. There are a variety of reasons cited by those opposed to this technology, but two of the most often heard complaints are 1) GM …

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