Thursday, February 06, 2003

promiscuous chloroplast [NSU]
A new study could raise concerns about next-generation genetically modified (GM) crops. It suggests that genes can move from a plant cell's chloroplast - its energy factory - into its pollen grains and therefore into the environment at large.

Bioengineers had hoped that modifying plants by secreting genes in the self-contained chloroplast might eliminate the risk of those genes leaking into their wild relatives or other organisms. This is a major concern surrounding existing GM crops, which contain genes in their cell nuclei (the compartment that contains most plant DNA).

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