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Long-term persistence of GM oilseed rape in the seedbank

  • Tina D'Hertefeldt
  • Rikke B. Jørgensen
  • Lars Pettersson
Publishing year: 2008
Language: English
Pages: 314-317
Publication/Series: Biology Letters
Volume: 4
Issue: 3
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: Royal Society

Abstract english

Coexistence between genetically modified (GM) and non-GM plants is a field of rapid development and considerable controversy. In crops, it is increasingly important to understand and predict the GM volunteer emergence in subsequent non-GM crops. Theoretical models suggest recruitment from the seedbank over extended periods, but empirical evidence matching these predictions has been scarce. Here, we provide evidence of long-term GM seed persistence in conventional agriculture. Ten years after a trial of GM herbicide-tolerant oilseed rape, emergent seedlings were collected and tested for herbicide tolerance. Seedlings that survived the glufosinate herbicide (15 out of 38 volunteers) tested positive for at least one GM insert. The resulting density was equivalent to 0.01 plants m−2, despite complying with volunteer reduction recommendations. These results are important in relation to debating and regulating coexistence of GM and non-GM crops, particularly for planting non-GM crops after GM crops in the same field.


  • Ecology
  • temporal gene flow
  • transgene
  • Brassica napus
  • seed
  • volunteer


  • Soil Ecology
  • ISSN: 1744-9561
Lars B. Pettersson
E-mail: lars [dot] pettersson [at] biol [dot] lu [dot] se



+46 46 222 38 18

+46 70 611 63 45



Centre for Animal Movement Research
Evolutionary Ecology, Department of Biology
Ecology building S-223 62 Lund Sweden