That finding, coupled with agronomic research that shows spring wheat seed stays viable for only one to two years in Oregon climates, and that wheat pollen typically travels no more than 30 feet from the host plant, Monsanto said a natural occurrence stemming from 2001 field trials is relatively improbable.
"We know that the circumstances are highly unusual that the farmer purchased this blended (spring wheat) seed, planted it on multiple fields and only one field generated the volunteers," Fraley said. "It is unusual, we can't rule anything out, and we are going to continue to do research until we can get to the answer."
Aware of the trade implications the GE wheat discovery could have, Monsanto Monday announced it would provide its testing methodology and positive samples of the GE wheat to trading partners Japan, Taiwan, Korea and the European Union for their use in determining if any imported wheat contains the GE trait. Monsanto also provided USDA with the testing materials, though it does not know if any of the countries or the USDA are using them.
Representatives also clarified that current field trials the company is conducting on wheat are focused on glufosinate resistance and drought tolerant varieties. No genetic similarity exists between the variety believed to have been found in Oregon and current trials.
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