- • Here, the gene flow from a cultivated rice variety (Minghui-63) to common wild rice (Oryza rufipogon) was investigated to assess the biosafety risk associated with the environmental release of transgenic varieties.
- • Four experimental designs differing in the spatial arrangement of the Minghui-63 and O. rufipogon plants were used in experiments conducted in an isolated rice field in Hunan Province, southern China, where O. rufipogon occurs naturally.
- • Natural hybridization events between the two species were detected by scoring a simple sequence repeat (SSR) molecular marker. A total of 296 hybrids were identified from 23 776 seedlings that were randomly germinated from > 80 000 seeds collected from O. rufipogon. The occurrence of the crop-to-wild gene flow was significantly associated with wind direction and frequencies of the gene flow, which decreased significantly with distance from the pollen sources. The maximum observed distance of gene flow was 43.2 m.
- • The results indicated that gene flow from cultivated rice to O. rufipogon occurred at a considerable rate. Therefore, isolation measures should be considered when deploying transgenic rice in the sympatric regions of the wild rice, and when establishing in situ conservation of O. rufipogon. The experimental system in this study can be used for biosafety assessment of transgene escape of other wind-pollinated crops.