Long-term persistence of GM oilseed rape in the seedbank

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Coexistence between genetically modified (GM) and non-GM plants is a field of rapid development and considerable controversy. In crops, it is increasingly important to understand and predict the GM volunteer emergence in subsequent non-GM crops. Theoretical models suggest recruitment from the seedbank over extended periods, but empirical evidence matching these predictions has been scarce. Here, we provide evidence of long-term GM seed persistence in conventional agriculture. Ten years after a trial of GM herbicide-tolerant oilseed rape, emergent seedlings were collected and tested for herbicide tolerance. Seedlings that survived the glufosinate herbicide (15 out of 38 volunteers) tested positive for at least one GM insert. The resulting density was equivalent to 0.01 plants m−2, despite complying with volunteer reduction recommendations. These results are important in relation to debating and regulating coexistence of GM and non-GM crops, particularly for planting non-GM crops after GM crops in the same field.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Ecology


  • temporal gene flow, transgene, Brassica napus, seed, volunteer
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)314-317
JournalBiology letters
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Publication categoryResearch