Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Strategies to facilitate containment of genetically engineered crops.

Abstract

Many of the food and feed crops grown in the United States of America (USA) are genetically engineered (GE) varieties of plants. GE plants have been grown commercially in the USA since 1996. However, their usage is controversial for a variety of reasons. A major concern is the possibility of gene flow from GE plantings to non-GE fields, or to wild or weedy relatives, as well as the possibility of the establishment of feral GE populations. Gene flow from GE to non-GE crops can impact the marketability of the crop product which received the genes. A related issue regarding gene flow from GE crops to other plants is the possibility of agricultural weeds acquiring crop protection traits, such as insect resistance and herbicide tolerance, as such weeds would lead to increased management challenges. The prevention of gene flow in crop plants can be achieved with various genetic containment strategies, some of which are more practical to implement than others. These methods include approaches such as physical distancing, utilizing natural sterility, and engineering sterility. The strategy selected needs to be aligned with the biology of the crop species and integrated into the field management plan. This review will focus on commercial GE crops currently grown in the USA, possible genetic containment strategies, as well as discuss possible future research needs.