Factors affecting the spread of resistant arabidopsis thaliana populations

Joy Bergelson, Colin B. Purrington

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The testing and market release of genetically engineered plants has ballooned in recent years, fulfilling expectations that transgenic agriculture would revolutionize farming. Public skepticism over large-scale commercialization of transgenic crops has increased to unexpectedly high levels, prompting many biotechnology corporations to make expensive revisions to their research and marketing strategies. Some opponents of genetically engineered crops have specific concerns that include health issues, environmental risks, and economic consequences, while others, such as Prince Charles (Anonymous 2000), oppose any manipulation on religious grounds. Together, these concerns represent a public-relations nightmare for producers of genetically engineered organisms (GEOs). It will be interesting to see how and if these fears are addressed for transgenic crops that are developed in the future. In this chapter, we focus on a single environmental concern, the “superweed threat.” In particular, we examine the chance that genetic enhancement will create crops that indirectly spawn invasive weeds by transferring the transgene, via errant pollen, to nearby weedy relatives. The thought of kudzu-like superweeds ruining our already-shrunken natural areas has captured the imagination of the public and is one of the many stumbling blocks to the widespread acceptance of transgenic technologies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationGenetically Engineered Organisms
Subtitle of host publicationAssessing Environmental and Human Health Effects
PublisherCRC Press
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9781420042030
ISBN (Print)9780849304392
StatePublished - Jan 1 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General Environmental Science
  • General Medicine
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Engineering


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