Does Monsanto Own Oregon's Glyphosate-Resistant Wheat?

Inside Dakota Ag

Glyphosate resistant weeds develop naturally. Why couldn't glyphosate resistant wheat develop naturally?

Published on: June 6, 2013

Who owns the glyphosate-resistant wheat that was discovered in Oregon?

Monsanto?

The farmer?

I’d like to know, because after the market settles down, I might like to buy some seed. Weed control would be pretty cheap and convenient with glyphosate-resistant wheat.

Some reports say USDA identified the wheat as the same variety that Monsanto tested in Oregon 10 years ago. Monsanto says it isn’t the same strain.

Nevertheless, the case got me thinking that maybe I should try developing my own glyphosate-resistant wheat, and maybe even soybeans.

I couldn’t insert genes into a plant cell like Monsanto. But it seems as if you spray enough plants with glyphosate you’ll find a couple that won’t die. They are naturally resistant to the chemistry. They’ll live, spread their seed and multiply.

Could that have happened in Oregon? If the farmer had used glyphosate on the same field year after year, could a population of resistant wheat plants have developed naturally -- just like the glyposphate-resistant weeds? 

Richard Zollinger, North Dakota State Univeristy Extension specialist, says, "no." Field crops have such a narrow genetic base that you wouldn't find a plant with natural resistance. Weeds have a broad genetic base, which is why natural selection pressure often quickly produces a resistant population.

Too bad. I thought I was on to something.