Concerns regarding the commercial release of genetically engineered (GE) crops include naturalization, introgression to sexually compatible relatives and the transfer of beneficial traits to native and weedy species through hybridization. To date there have been few documented reports of escape leading some researchers to question the environmental risks of biotech products. In this study we conducted a systematic roadside survey of canola (Brassica napus) populations growing outside of cultivation in North Dakota, USA, the dominant canola growing region in the U.S. We document the presence of two escaped, transgenic genotypes, as well as non-GE canola, and provide evidence of novel combinations of transgenic forms in the wild. Our results demonstrate that feral populations are large and widespread. Moreover, flowering times of escaped populations, as well as the fertile condition of the majority of collections suggest that these populations are established and persistent outside of cultivation.
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