13 October 2000

Beet resists herbicides

A BIOTECH company has unwittingly created a genetically modified beet which is resistant to two widely used herbicides, reports the Financial Times.

German firm KWS Saat, acting as a contractor for Aventis, produced the beet in greenhouse conditions.

It intended to make the beet resistant to Liberty herbicide, but cross-pollination from another trial made it resistant to Roundup.

Unchecked, it could have developed into a serious problem if it crossed over to wild relatives, reports the FT.

The mistake was discovered when the beet was tested in Germany, the UK, Holland and France.

KWS insists all the affected seed was withdrawn and cannot be distributed for planting. &#42