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Performance of Hybrids between Weedy Rice and Insect-resistant Transgenic Rice under Field Experiments: Implication for Environmental Biosafety Assessment

Authors

  • Qian-Jin Cao,

    1. Ministry of Education Key Laboratory for Biodiversity Science and Ecological Engineering, Institute of Biodiversity Science, Fudan University, Shanghai 200433, China
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    • These authors contributed equally to this work.

  • Hui Xia,

    1. Ministry of Education Key Laboratory for Biodiversity Science and Ecological Engineering, Institute of Biodiversity Science, Fudan University, Shanghai 200433, China
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    • These authors contributed equally to this work.

  • Xiao Yang,

    1. Ministry of Education Key Laboratory for Biodiversity Science and Ecological Engineering, Institute of Biodiversity Science, Fudan University, Shanghai 200433, China
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  • Bao-Rong Lu

    Corresponding author
    1. Ministry of Education Key Laboratory for Biodiversity Science and Ecological Engineering, Institute of Biodiversity Science, Fudan University, Shanghai 200433, China
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  • Supported by the Ministry of Science and Technology (2007CB10920206) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (30730066 and 30871503).

*Author for correspondence.
Tel(Fax): +86 21 6564 3668;
E-mail: <brlu@fudan.edu.cn>; <Lbaorong25@hotmail.com>.

Abstract

Transgene escape from genetically modified (GM) rice into weedy rice via gene flow may cause undesired environmental consequences. Estimating the field performance of crop-weed hybrids will facilitate our understanding of potential introgression of crop genes (including transgenes) into weedy rice populations, allowing for effective biosafety assessment. Comparative studies of three weedy rice strains and their hybrids with two GM rice lines containing different insect-resistance transgenes (CpTI or Bt/CpTI) indicated an enhanced relative performance of the crop-weed hybrids, with taller plants, more tillers, panicles, and spikelets per plant, as well as higher 1 000-seed weight, compared with the weedy rice parents, although the hybrids produced less filled seeds per plant than their weedy parents. Seeds from the F1 hybrids had higher germination rates and produced more seedlings than the weedy parents, which correlated positively with 1 000-seed weight. The crop-weed hybrids demonstrated a generally enhanced relative performance than their weedy rice parents in our field experiments. These findings indicate that transgenes from GM rice can persist to and introgress into weedy rice populations through recurrent crop-to-weed gene flow with the aid of slightly increased relative fitness in F1 hybrids.

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