Brief Communications

Nature 409, 682-683 (8 February 2001) | doi:10.1038/35055621

Biotechnology: Transgenic crops in natural habitats

M. J. Crawley1, S. L. Brown1, R. S. Hails1, D. D. Kohn1 & M. Rees1

Although improved crop yields can be engineered by genetically modifying plants, there is ecological concern over whether these plants are likely to persist in the wild in the event of dispersal from their cultivated habitat. Here we present the results of a long-term study of the performance of transgenic crops in natural habitats. Four different crops (oilseed rape, potato, maize and sugar beet) were grown in 12 different habitats and monitored over a period of 10 years. In no case were the genetically modified plants found to be more invasive or more persistent than their conventional counterparts.

  1. Department of Biology, NERC Centre for Population Biology, Imperial College, Silwood Park, Ascot, Berks SL5 7PY, UK

Correspondence to: M. J. Crawley1 e-mail: Email: m.crawley@ic.ac.uk