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Trends Ecol Evol. 1988 Apr;3(4):S30-2. doi: 10.1016/0169-5347(88)90136-X.

Pollen as a vehicle for the escape of engineered genes?

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Norman C. Ellstrand is at the Department of Botany and Plant Sciences and Program in Genetics, University of California, Riverside, CA 92521-0124, USA.


Recent studies of pollen exchange between neighboring populations of plants have shown that interpopulation gene flow can proceed over much greater distances and at higher rates than hitherto believed. This means that the escape of engineered genes from crop plants to their wild relatives is not only possible, but also likely. The development of containment strategies, such as extra modifications for increased self-fertilization and decreased pollen longevity in engineered crop plants, will be necessary to safeguard against such escape.

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