Send to

Choose Destination
Plant Sci. 2013 Oct;211:42-51. doi: 10.1016/j.plantsci.2013.07.002. Epub 2013 Jul 12.

Consequences of gene flow between oilseed rape (Brassica napus) and its relatives.

Author information

State Key Laboratory of Environmental Criteria and Risk Assessment, Chinese Research Academy of Environmental Sciences, Beijing, China.


Numerous studies have focused on the probability of occurrence of gene flow between transgenic crops and their wild relatives and the likelihood of transgene escape, which should be assessed before the commercial release of transgenic crops. This review paper focuses on this issue for oilseed rape, Brassica napus L., a species that produces huge numbers of pollen grains and seeds. We analyze separately the distinct steps of gene flow: (1) pollen and seeds as vectors of gene flow; (2) spontaneous hybridization; (3) hybrid behavior, fitness cost due to hybridization and mechanisms of introgression; (4) and fitness benefit due to transgenes (e.g. herbicide resistance and Bt toxin). Some physical, biological and molecular means of transgene containment are also described. Although hybrids and first generation progeny are difficult to identify in fields and non-crop habitats, the literature shows that transgenes could readily introgress into Brassica rapa, Brassica juncea and Brassica oleracea, while introgression is expected to be rare with Brassica nigra, Hirschfeldia incana and Raphanus raphanistrum. The hybrids grow well but produce less seed than their wild parent. The difference declines with increasing generations. However, there is large uncertainty about the evolution of chromosome numbers and recombination, and many parameters of life history traits of hybrids and progeny are not determined with satisfactory confidence to build generic models capable to really cover the wide diversity of situations. We show that more studies are needed to strengthen and organize biological knowledge, which is a necessary prerequisite for model simulations to assess the practical and evolutionary outputs of introgression, and to provide guidelines for gene flow management.


Brassica; Gene flow; Hybridization; Inter-generic; Introgression; Mitigation

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center