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One concern over growing herbicide-tolerant crops is that herbicide-tolerance genes may be transferred into the weeds they are designed to control. Brassica napus (oilseed rape) has a number of wild relatives that cause weed problems and the most widespread of these is Sinapis arvensis (charlock). Sinapis arvensis seed was collected from 102 populations across the UK, within and outside B. napus-growing areas. These populations were tested for sexual compatibility with B. napus and it was found that none of them hybridized readily in the glasshouse. In contrast to previous studies, we have found that hybrids can be formed naturally with S. arvensis as the maternal parent. Six diverse B. napus cultivars (Capricorn, Drakkar, Falcon, Galaxy, Hobson and Regent) were tested for their compatibility with S. arvensis but no cultivar hybridized readily in the glasshouse. We were unable to detect gene transfer from B. napus to S. arvensis in the field, confirming the extremely low probability of hybridization predicted from the glasshouse work.

Original publication




Journal article


Molecular ecology

Publication Date





103 - 112


John Innes Centre, Colney Lane, Norwich, NR4 7UH, UK.


Chromosomes, Brassica napus, Mustard Plant, DNA, Plant, Herbicides, Blotting, Southern, Flow Cytometry, Multivariate Analysis, Crosses, Genetic, Random Amplified Polymorphic DNA Technique, Polymerase Chain Reaction, Fertility, Ploidies, United Kingdom