The use of genetically modified plants is gradually spreading despite the technology behind it has been showing some cracks. With the sole purpose of profiting now with uncaring disregard for possible consequences in the future, GM companies are widely advertising that its GM crop technology is safe and provide an essential good not only to farmers but also to ordinary consumers in general. But then the bad things are usually being hidden from sight, just like how GM plants tend to encourage the development of so-called superweeds.
A study has recently explained just how superweeds growing around GM crops develop their resistance to the herbicide Roundup. This type of herbicide contains the active ingredient glyphosate which seems to also affect how weeds come to develop their resistance to chemicals meant to destroy them. Glyphosate essentially works by preventing a certain function of a natural plant protein that results in the death of the plant or weed. GM crops usually are modified to produce a certain type of mutated bacterial protein that can carry the work left by the said natural protein. Through this, GM crops sprayed with glyphosate can survive while the weeds that grow around them die.
But the recent study have found that the superweeds have adapted by greatly increasing the number of genes in their DNA code used in producing the natural protein Roundup tries to block. The result is an increased production of the natural protein up to a point where the weeds may be able to survive heavy doses of glyphosate.
According to Madeleine Love, researcher for MADGE Australia, "GM crops, designed to be sprayed with glyphosate (Roundup), are making that herbicide useless for both GM and conventional farmers."
"Farmers have been previously blamed for causing weed resistance. There are claims that they have sprayed too much, too little, haven’t followed a crop management plan or haven’t allowed enough diversity in crops or herbicide use on their farm. However this research shows that nature is more than a match for GM crop systems."
"The current strategy seems to be to spray more concentrated doses of Roundup to knock out weeds in new GM crop plantings, but the downside is increased residues in food, feed and environment. GM systems have been shown to increase pesticide use", she further adds.