|Fuchs, Marc - CORNELL UNIVERSITY|
|Chirco, Ellen - CORNELL UNIVERSITY|
|Mcferson, Jim - CORNELL UNIVERSITY|
Submitted to: Environmental Biosafety Research
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: January 2, 2004
Publication Date: February 1, 2004
Citation: Fuchs, M., Chirco, E.M., McFerson, J.R., Gonsalves, D. 2004. Comparative fitness of a wild squash species and three generations of hybrids between wild x virus-resistant transgenic squash. Environmental Biosafety Research. 3(1):17-28. Interpretive Summary: The movement of transgenes from transgenic crops to wild relatives become of potential concern if plants arising from the cross show added fitness that might make them a threat to the environment. A particular concern is that the transgene movement might make the wild relatives weedier. To address this potential, we compared the relative fitness of the wild squash with hybrids that were formed through the movement of the virus resistant transgene from the transgenic squash to the wild squash. Our results showed that transgenic progeny from wild squash that had crossed with the transgenic squash showed good growth under conditions of high virus pressure when compared to their nontransgenic counterparts. Thus, the interpretation is that virus resistance makes the resistant wild squash more fit than nontransgenic susceptible squash if virus pressure is very high in the vicinity where wild squash are growing. Additionally, a small percentage of progeny from an initial cross of the domesticated squash with the wild squash showed characteristics of the wild squash. This indicates that transgenic progeny with horticultural characteristics of the wild squash can be obtained after a few crosses.