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ND foundation wheat seed samples test negative for glyphosate resistance

by Robert Schubert
CropChoice editor

(Monday, Jan. 27, 2003 -- CropChoice news) -- Samples of foundation wheat seed produced at North Dakota State Research Extension Centers have tested negative for glyphosate resistance.

Centers that grew both foundation seed and Monsanto's wheat genetically engineered to resist glyphosate sent samples of the former to the State Seed Department for testing last fall, said Dale Williams, director of the Foundation Seedstocks program.

The Seed Department performed a bio-assay on the foundation samples, said Seed Commissioner Ken Bertsch. That means the seeds were put in a solution containing glyphosate, known by one of its trade names as Roundup. Since none of the seeds sprouted, they weren't resistant to the herbicide, he said.

The Research Extension Centers that perform field trials of genetically engineered wheat must keep it at least 330 feet from other wheat, Williams said. That is 10 times what the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) requires.

Foundation Seedstocks requested verification from Monsanto about the location of private field tests to ensure there were no trials happening in a field adjacent to foundation wheat. Although the company wouldn't reveal those locations, Williams said Monsanto assured his program that private field tests were "miles" from the research centers.

Please see related story:
Farmer wants ND to ensure protection of foundation wheat seed stocks; http://www.cropchoice.com/leadstry.asp?recid=748