Transgene introgression in crop relatives: molecular evidence and mitigation strategies

Trends Biotechnol. 2011 Jun;29(6):284-93. doi: 10.1016/j.tibtech.2011.02.003. Epub 2011 Mar 8.


Incorporation of crop genes into wild and weedy relative populations (i.e. introgression) has long been of interest to ecologists and weed scientists. Potential negative outcomes that result from crop transgene introgression (e.g. extinction of native wild relative populations; invasive spread by wild or weedy hosts) have not been documented, and few examples of transgene introgression exist. However, molecular evidence of introgression from non-transgenic crops to their relatives continues to emerge, even for crops deemed low-risk candidates for transgene introgression. We posit that transgene introgression monitoring and mitigation strategies are warranted in cases in which transgenes are predicted to confer selective advantages and disadvantages to recipient hosts. The utility and consequences of such strategies are examined, and future directions provided.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Crosses, Genetic
  • Gene Transfer, Horizontal*
  • Plant Weeds / genetics*
  • Plants, Genetically Modified*