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Fitness of backcross six of hybrids between transgenic oilseed rape (Brassica napus) and wild radish (Raphanus raphanistrum)


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The process of introgression between a transgenic crop modified for better agronomic characters and a wild relative could lead potentially to increased weediness and adaptation to the environment of the wild species. However, the formation of hybrid and hybrid progeny could be associated with functional imbalance and low fitness, which reduces the risk of gene escape and establishment of the wild species in the field. Our work compares the fitness components of parents and different types of backcross in the sixth generation of hybrids between transgenic oilseed rape (Brassica napus, AACC, 2n = 38) resistant to the herbicide glufosinate and wild radish (Raphanus raphanistrum, RrRr, 2n = 18). The backcross with oilseed rape cytoplasm (OBC) has a fitness value 100 times lower than that of the backcross with wild radish cytoplasm (RBC). The herbicide-resistant RBC has similar growth to the susceptible RBC, but final male and female fitness values are two times lower. In turn, susceptible RBC exhibit similar fitness to the control wild radishes. The relative fitnesses of the different types are the same whether or not they grow under competitive conditions. The consequence on fitness of the chromosome location of the transgene conferring resistance and the relevance of these results to the impact of gene flow on the environment are discussed.