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GM Crop Escapes into the American Wild

A genetically modified (GM) crop has been found thriving in the wild for the first time in the United States. Transgenic canola is growing freely in parts of North Dakota, researchers told the Ecological Society of America conference in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, today. GM crops have broken free from cultivated land in several countries, but they have not previously been found in uncultivated land in the United States.

The scientists behind the discovery say this highlights a lack of proper monitoring and control of GM crops in the United States.

"The extent of the escape is unprecedented," says Cynthia Sagers, an ecologist at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, who led the research team that found the canola (Brassica napus, also known as rapeseed). Sagers says the discovery of plants that are resistant to tow major herbicides shows that "these feral populations of canola have been part of the landscape for several generations."

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