Crop- to-wild geneflow: Environmental risk assessment for the release of genetically modified Sorghum in Kenya

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Date
2009
Authors
Evans, M.
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Mutegi Evans
Abstract
Recent advances in biotechnology have culminated in the genetic engineering of many crops of economic importance. Undoubtedly this new technology has profound potential to improve the ever increasing demand for food globally, more so in the developing countries. Nonetheless, critical concerns have also been raised about the potential risks posed by genetically modified (GM) crops on the environment. Foremost among these concerns is the potential escape of transgenes from cultivated crops to their wild and weedy relatives through geneflow. The possible harmful consequences of such escape are the evolution of more aggressive weeds in agricultural systems, the generation of more invasive species in natural habitats, the gradual replacement of wild gene pools by cultivated ones and in some extreme cases, the extinction of crop wild relative populations (Conner et of. 2003; Ellstrand 2003; Haygood et of. 2003; Chen et of. 2004; Johnston ef 01. 2004). Scientific assessment of these potential environmental risks is an integral part of biosafety regulations and therefore precedes any decision to release a GM crop.
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