, Volume 191, Issue 1, pp 1–7 | Cite as

Outcrossing frequencies from multiple high erucic acid oilseed rape fields to a central receptor field

  • Antje Dietz-PfeilstetterEmail author
  • Maren Langhof
  • Gerhard Rühl


Genetically modified oilseed rape is currently grown on about 23 % of the global oilseed rape acreage. In order to separate transgenic and non-transgenic oilseed rape production and to ensure co-existence of different agricultural cultivation schemes, as is specified by the European legislation, confinement measures have to be defined. Pollen-mediated gene flow is the most important means by which transgenes are dispersed between fields. In contrast to the majority of the previous investigations the objective of this study was to assess the extent of gene flow in the case of multiple pollen-donor fields. A high erucic acid rape genotype was used as biochemical marker for the quantification of outcrossing into a low erucic acid oilseed rape variety. Outcrossing data were obtained from two experimental locations. As expected, multiple pollen sources in a fragmented landscape can result in high gene transfer frequencies, thus requiring larger isolation distances than a field design with a single pollen donor source. The results of the study are transferable to homozygous transgenic oilseed rape varieties.


Brassica napus L. Gene flow Erucic acid Co-existence Multiple pollen sources 



We are grateful to technical staff at the Julius Kühn-Institut for conducting the field experiments and analyzing samples.


  1. Becker HC, Damgaard C, Karlsson B (1992) Environmental variation for outcrossing rate in rapeseed (Brassica napus). Theor Appl Genet 84:303–306CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Cullen D, Squire GR, McNicol JW, Jacobs JH, Osborne JL, Ford L, Ramsay G, Scrimgeour C, Young MW (2008) Development and validation of gas chromatography and real-time quantitative PCR for the quantification of landscape-scale gene flow from varieties of high erucic acid (HEAR) oilseed rape. J Sci Food Agric 88:2253–2264CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Damgaard C, Kjellsson G (2005) Gene flow of oilseed rape (Brassica napus) according to isolation distance and buffer zone. Agric Ecosyst Environ 108:291–301CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Davis JB, Brown J, Brennan JS, Thill DC (1999) Predicting decreases in canola (Brassica napus and B. rapa) oil and meal quality caused by contamination by Brassicaceae weed seeds. Weed Technol 13:239–243Google Scholar
  5. Dietz-Pfeilstetter A, Zwerger P (2004) Dispersal of herbicide resistance genes during the large scale cultivation of different transgenic herbicide resistant oilseed rape varieties. Zeitschrift für Pflanzenkrankheiten und Pflanzenschutz, Sonderheft. J Plant Dis Prot XIX:831–838Google Scholar
  6. Eastham K, Sweet J (2002) Genetically modified organisms (GMOs): the significance of gene flow through pollen transfer. Environ Issue Rep No 28, European Environment Agency, CopenhagenGoogle Scholar
  7. EC (2003) Regulation (EC) No 1829/2003 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 September 2003 on genetically modified food and feedGoogle Scholar
  8. Heuberger S, Ellers-Kirk C, Tabashnik B, Carriere Y (2010) Pollen- and seed mediated transgene flow in commercial cotton seed production fields. PLoS One 5:1–8Google Scholar
  9. Hüsken A, Dietz-Pfeilstetter A (2007) Pollen-mediated intraspecific gene flow from herbicide resistant oilseed rape (Brassica napus L.). Transgenic Res 16:557–569PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Ingram J (2000) The separation distances required to ensure cross-pollination is below specified limits in non-seed crops of sugar beet, maize and oilseed rape. Plant Var Seeds 13:181–199Google Scholar
  11. James (2010) ISAAA Brief 42-2010: Global status of commercialized Biotech/GM CropsGoogle Scholar
  12. Jourdren C, Barret P, Horvais R, Foisset N, Delourme R, Renard M (1996) Identification of RAPD markers linked to the loci controlling erucic acid level in rapeseed. Mol Breed 2:61–71CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. OECD (2000) OECD scheme for the varietal certification of crucifer seed and other oil or fibre species seed moving in international trade. Annex VII to the Decision. AGR/CA/S (2000)9Google Scholar
  14. Salisbury PA (2002) In: Downey K (ed) Genetically modified canola in Australia: agronomic and environmental considerations. Australian Oilseeds Federation, MelbourneGoogle Scholar
  15. Scheffler JA, Parkinson R, Dale PJ (1995) Evaluating the effectiveness of isolation distances for field plots of oilseed rape (Brassica napus) using a herbicide-resistance transgene as a selectable marker. Plant Breed 114:317–332CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Scientific Committee on Plants (2001) Opinion of the scientific committee on plants concerning the adventitious presence of GM seeds in conventional seeds. SCP/GMO-SEED-CONT/002-final, 13 March 2001Google Scholar
  17. Staniland BK, McVetty PBE, Friesen LF, Yarrow S, Freyssinet G, Freyssinet M (2001) Effectiveness of border areas in confining the spread of transgenic Brassica napus pollen. Can J Plant Sci 80:521–526CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Antje Dietz-Pfeilstetter
    • 1
    Email author
  • Maren Langhof
    • 1
  • Gerhard Rühl
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute for Biosafety in Plant Biotechnology and Institute for Crop and Soil ScienceJulius Kühn-Institut Federal Research Centre for Cultivated PlantsBraunschweigGermany

Personalised recommendations