Oregon State University

Roundup Ready sugar beets

GMO sugar beets

sugar beets genetically engineered to withstand the weed killer, glyphosate. Because sugar beets grow so slowly and weeds grow so quickly, weed control is a beet farmer’s number one challenge. When they grow RR beets instead of conventional beets, farmers are able to cut the number of cultivations and herbicide applications pretty much in half. Their yields go up, their costs go down, and their crops have a markedly reduced environmental impact (because less fuel and fewer chemicals are used). There is very little risk of gene flow in sugar beet root production because the crop is harvested well before it flowers. Seed production does have a gene flow risk because the beets are allowed to flower and disperse pollen. This risk can be mediated by imposing isolation distances between fields and by using non-RR male plants as pollinators for male-sterile, RR female plants.

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