Transgenic Research

, Volume 3, Issue 5, pp 263–278 | Cite as

Opportunities for gene transfer from transgenic oilseed rape (Brassica napus) to related species

  • Jodi A. Scheffler
  • Philip J. Dale


Before novel transgenic plant genotypes are grown outside containment facilities and evaluated under field conditions, it is necessary to complete a risk assessment to consider the possible consequences of that release. An important aspect of risk assessment is to consider the likelihood and consequences of the transgene being transferred by cross-pollination to related species, including other crops, weeds and ruderal populations. The purpose of this report is to review the literature to assess the ease with whichBrassica napus can hybridize with related species. The evidence for hybridization is considered at three levels: a) by open pollination, b) by hand pollination and c) by the use ofin vitro ovule and embryo rescue techniques; and also examines the fertility and vigour of the F1, F2 and backcross generations. Four species are reported to hybridize withB. napus by open pollination:B. rapa andB. juncea using fully fertile parents; andB. adpressa andR. raphanistrum using a male-sterileB. napus parent. Seventeen species are reported to form hybrids (including the four species above) withB. napus when pollination is carried out manually. At least 12 of these species were unable to form F2 progeny, and eight were unable to produce progeny when the F1 was backcrossed to one of the parental species. Many factors will influence the success of hybridization under field conditions, including: distance between the parents, synchrony of flowering, method of pollen spread, specific parental genotypes used, direction of the cross and the environmental conditions. Even where there is a possibility of hybridization betweenB. napus and a related species growing in the vicinity of a release, poor vigour and high sterility in the hybrids will generally mean that hybrids and their progeny will not survive in either an agricultural or natural habitat.

Key words

Brassica napus oilseed rape transgenic plants interspecific hybridization gene transfer risk assessment 


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Copyright information

© Chapman & Hall 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jodi A. Scheffler
    • 1
  • Philip J. Dale
    • 1
  1. 1.John Innes CentreNorwichUK

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