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Environ Biosafety Res. 2005 Jan-Mar;4(1):3-12.

Transgene expression and fitness of hybrids between GM oilseed rape and Brassica rapa.

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Biosystems Department, Risø National Laboratory, P.O. Box 49, 4000 Roskilde, Denmark.


Oilseed rape (Brassica napus) is sexually compatible with its wild and weedy relative B. rapa, and introgression of genes from B. napus has been found to occur over a few generations. We simulated the early stages of transgene escape by producing F1 hybrids and the first backcross generation between two lines of transgenic B. napus and two populations of weedy B. rapa. Transgene expression and the fitness of the hybrids were examined under different environmental conditions. Expression of the transgenes was analyzed at the mRNA level by quantitative PCR and found to be stable in the hybrids, regardless of the genetic background and the environment, and equal to the level of transcription in the parental B. napus lines. Vigor of the hybrids was measured as the photosynthetic capability; pollen viability and seed set per silique. Photosynthetic capability of first generation hybrids was found to be at the same level, or higher, than that of the parental species, whereas the reproductive fitness was significantly lower. The first backcross generation had a significantly lower photosynthetic capability and reproductive fitness compared to the parental species. This is the first study that examines transgene expression at the mRNA level in transgenic hybrids of B. napus of different genetic background exposed to different environmental conditions. The data presented clarify important details of the overall risk assessment of growing transgenic oilseed rape.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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