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Roundup back in Schmeiser field; other news

(Friday, November 4, 2005 -- CropChoice news) --

1. Roundup back in Schmeiser field
2. Monsanto's year-end hides potential earnings problems
3. Most offspring died when mother rats ate genetically engineered soy
4. Farmers concerned over D&PL's terminator patent
5. Resistant pigweed plagues central Georgia cotton

1.Roundup back in Schmeiser field

Sean Pratt
Western Producer, October 28, 2005
via Crop Biotechnology News

He is as persistent as the Roundup Ready canola that keeps appearing in his fields.

Percy Schmeiser is back in the news, threatening to file a lawsuit against his nemesis, Monsanto Canada.

The Bruno, Sask., farmer, who lost a high-profile legal battle against the biotech company that made it to the Supreme Court of Canada, is butting heads with Monsanto again over Roundup Ready plants on his land.

Schmeiser, who is prohibited by the courts from growing Monsanto's genetically modified canola, contacted the firm in late September about volunteer plants that he said had invaded his 50-acre, chemical-fallow field.

"It's almost identical to how my field was contaminated in 1998," said the farmer, who travels the world speaking about his fight with Monsanto.

According to the 2004 Supreme Court ruling, 95 to 98 percent of the 1,000 acres of canola Schmeiser grew in 1998 comprised Roundup Ready plants he knowingly cultivated.

Schmeiser, who has never admitted to planting brown bag seed despite being found guilty by three different courts of violating Monsanto's patent, claimed this latest incident parallels what happened seven years ago.

"If I would have seeded canola I could have had another lawsuit on my hands," he said.

On Sept. 21 he called Monsanto and requested that the company remove the unwanted plants.

Monsanto responded to Schmeiser's call by sending a team of investigators to his farm where they confirmed Roundup Ready canola was growing in his field.

Despite reservations about the claim, the company offered to hand pick the offending plants from the field once Schmeiser signed a legal release that all farmers with unexpected volunteer plants are asked to sign.

The document forever releases Monsanto from any lawsuits associated with their products and forbids the grower from disclosing the terms of the settlement.

For Schmeiser, that was too much.

"I flatly refused to sign any release that would take my freedom of speech or my rights away."

He doesn't trust the biotech firm that engaged him in a legal battle that lasted six years.

"They must think I'm absolutely crazy I would ever sign my rights away," he said.

So on Oct. 21 Schmeiser began removing the plants himself, some of which were shattering, spreading seeds onto his field. He filled a half-ton truck with his first clearing attempt.

In a letter to the company, he estimated that damage to his farmland this year and the next is expected to exceed $50,000. He said he will send an invoice to Monsanto for the cleanup costs.

Monsanto spokesperson Trish Jordan said the company has done all it is going to do by offering assistance, which it was under no legal obligation to do in the first place.

"In this situation it would appear that Mr. Schmeiser is not really interested in assistance. He's interested in continuing his media campaign," said Jordan.

She said Schmeiser was treated no differently than any other producer requesting removal of unexpected Roundup Ready volunteers, despite "puzzling questions" about this particular situation.

The company's inspectors said the amount and uniformity of the plants across the 50 acres was not consistent with pollen flow and that it was highly unusual to have canola flowering in late September.

In a letter to the company dated Sept. 30, Schmeiser countered that the plants were not uniform, although there were more plants along the side of the field bordering a grid road, indicating the GM seed could have blown off trucks or from other farmer's fields. And he said volunteer canola will emerge any time of the year when soil and climate conditions are right.

2. Monsanto's year-end hides potential earnings problems

Ottawa - October 5, 2005:

When Terry Crews releases Monsanto's year-end results Wednesday (October 12), the CFO will likely announce the company has hit its fiscal 2005 earnings' predictions.

What he won't talk about are factors that for years have drained those revenues and pose a threat to future earnings and shareholder value.

Recent research by the Polaris Institute in Ottawa, Canada, reveals that since 2002 Monsanto has lost $545 million in international royalty payments with no significant relief in sight. The company is also trailing its major competitor, Pioneer, in U.S. Department of Agriculture GE-crop field trials in the United States. This means it is testing fewer new products for its agribusiness pipeline.

As well, with a patent challenge to its insect-resistant Bt transgenic traits from Dow Agrobusiness, the company's intellectual property rights are by no means secure.

"Investors should be wary of a company betting its earnings on GE technology. The downside of that technology in terms of inadequate IP protection is only now being tested. The future is not at all certain, and shareholders should be wary," says Polaris analyst David Macdonald.

The royalty issue threatens future revenues despite an agreement Monday between Monsanto and Brazilian seed-industry body Abrasem (http://www.agbios.com/main.php?action=ShowNewsItem&id=6901). If enforceable among Brazil's soy farmers, the deal would recover only about 10 percent of global royalties.

Argentina has no royalty agreement with the company, and herbicide-resistant Roundup Ready (RR) soy accounts for two-thirds of royalty losses; Paraguayan RR soy and Indian Bt cotton make up the remainder.

For the seventh year in a row Monsanto has lagged far behind Pioneer in new transgenic-crop trials, especially in corn, which has the highest new-acreage penetration potential in the United States. Field trials are a top industry indicator of future revenues from seed traits and intellectual-property licensing.

Since 2004 Pioneer has conducted 86 corn trials compared to Monsanto's 26, and 70 soy trials compared to Monsanto's 23. The average field-trial-to-market period is about two years.

Less clear but potentially more dangerous was the decision in mid-September by the U.S. Patent and Trademark office that awarded rights of all Bt traits to Dow Agrosciences (http://www.dowagro.com/newsroom/corporatenews/2005/20050913a.htm). Monsanto makes about $400 million off its Bt traits annually in the U.S. alone.

"While biotech acres increase from South America to India, Monsanto has been consistently unable to capture that value. On its home turf in the U.S. it has enjoyed an almost complete lack of competition in biotech traits, but the honeymoon is ending. Poor IP protection in the developing world, increased competition at home and a saturation of the US marketplace cannot help but shrink earnings in the coming years," Macdonald adds.

For more information, contact David Macdonald at 613 237-1717 or 613 725-7606 (cell).

Polaris: The Polaris Institute is a public interest organization doing research, education and action on the role of corporations in public policy.

3. Most offspring died when mother rats ate genetically engineered soy

By Jeffrey M. Smith, author of Seeds of Deception

The Russian scientist planned a simple experiment to see if eating genetically modified (GM) soy might influence offspring. What she got, however, was an astounding result that may threaten a multi-billion dollar industry.

Irina Ermakova, a leading scientist at the Institute of Higher Nervous Activity and Neurophysiology of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS), added GM soy flour (5-7 grams) to the diet of female rats. Other females were fed non-GM soy or no soy at all. The experimental diet began two weeks before the rats conceived and continued through pregnancy and nursing.

Ermakova’s first surprise came when her pregnant rats started giving birth. Some pups from GM-fed mothers were quite a bit smaller. After 2 weeks, 36% of them weighed less than 20 grams compared to about 6% from the other groups (see photo below).

(Photo of two rats from the Russian study, showing stunted growth - the larger rat, 19 days old, is from the control group; the smaller rat, 20 days old, is from the "GM soy" group.)

But the real shock came when the rats started dying. Within three weeks, 25 of the 45 (55.6%) rats from the GM soy group died compared to only 3 of 33 (9%) from the non-GM soy group and 3 of 44 (6.8%) from the non-soy controls.

Ermakova preserved several major organs from the mother rats and offspring, drew up designs for a detailed organ analysis, created plans to repeat and expand the feeding trial, and promptly ran out of research money. The $70,000 needed was not expected to arrive for a year. Therefore, when she was invited to present her research at a symposium organized by the National Association for Genetic Security, Ermakova wrote "PRELIMINARY STUDIES" on the top of her paper. She presented it on October 10, 2005 at a session devoted to the risks of GM food.

Her findings are hardly welcome by an industry already steeped in controversy.

GM Soy's Divisive Past

The soy she was testing was Monsanto’s Roundup Ready variety. Its DNA has bacterial genes added that allow the soy plant to survive applications of Monsanto's "Roundup" brand herbicide. About 85% of the soy gown in the US is Roundup Ready. Since soy derivatives, including oil, flour and lecithin, are found in the majority of processed foods sold in the US, many Americans eat ingredients derived from Roundup Ready soy everyday.

The FDA does not require any safety tests on genetically modified foods. If Monsanto or other biotech companies declare their foods safe, the agency has no further questions. The rationale for this hands-off position is a sentence in the FDA’s 1992 policy that states, "The agency is not aware of any information showing that foods derived by these new methods differ from other foods in any meaningful or uniform way."[1] The statement, it turns out, was deceptive. Documents made public from a lawsuit years later revealed that the FDA's own experts agreed that GM foods are different and might lead to hard-to-detect allergens, toxins, new diseases or nutritional problems. They had urged their superiors to require long-term safety studies, but were ignored. The person in charge of FDA policy was, conveniently, Monsanto's former attorney (and later their vice president). One FDA microbiologist described the GM food policy as "just a political document" without scientific basis, and warned that industry would "not do the tests that they would normally do" since the FDA didn't require any.[2] He was correct.

There have been less than 20 published, peer-reviewed animal feeding safety studies and no human clinical trials - in spite of the fact that millions of people eat GM soy, corn, cotton, or canola daily. There are no adequate tests on "biochemistry, immunology, tissue pathology, gut function, liver function and kidney function,"[3] and animal feeding studies are too short to adequately test for cancer, reproductive problems, or effects in the next generation. This makes Ermakova's research particularly significant. It's the first of its kind.

Past Studies Show Significant Effects

Other studies on Roundup Ready soy also raise serious questions. Research on the liver, the body’s major de-toxifier, showed that rats fed GM soy developed misshapen nuclei and other cellular anomalies.[4] This indicates increased metabolic activity, probably resulting from a major insult to that organ. Rats also showed changes in the pancreas, including a huge drop in the production of a major enzyme (alpha-amylase),[5] which could inhibit digestion. Cooked GM soy contains about twice the amount of soy lectin, which can also block nutrient assimilation.[6] And one study showed that GM soy has 12-14% less isoflavones, which are touted as cancer fighting.[7]

An animal feeding study published by Monsanto showed no apparent problems with GM soy,[8] but their research has been severely criticized as rigged to avoid finding problems.[9] Monsanto used mature animals instead of young, more sensitive ones, diluted their GM soy up to 12-fold, used too much protein, never weighed the organs, and had huge variations in starting weights. The study’s nutrient comparison between GM and non-GM soy revealed significant differences in the ash, fat, and carbohydrate content, lower levels of protein, a fatty acid, and phenylalanine. Monsanto researchers had actually omitted the most incriminating nutritional differences, which were later discovered and made public. For example, the published paper showed a 27% increase in a known allergen, trypsin inhibitor, while the recovered data raised that to a 3-fold or 7-fold increase, after the soy was cooked. This might explain why soy allergies in the UK skyrocketed by 50% soon after GM soy was introduced.

The gene that is inserted into GM soy produces a protein with two sections that are identical to known allergens. This might also account for the increased allergy rate. Furthermore, the only human feeding trial ever conducted confirmed that this inserted gene transfers into the DNA of bacteria inside the intestines. This means that long after you decide to stop eating GM soy, your own gut bacteria may still be producing this potentially allergenic protein inside your digestive tract.

The migration of genes might influence offspring. German scientists found fragments of the DNA fed to pregnant mice in the brains of their newborn.[10] Fragments of genetically modified DNA were also found in the blood, spleen, liver and kidneys of piglets that were fed GM corn.[11] It was not clear if the GM genes actually entered the DNA of the animal, but scientists speculate that if it were to integrate into the sex organ cells, it might impact offspring.

The health of newborns might also be affected by toxins, allergens, or anti-nutrients in the mother’s diet. These may be created in GM crops, due to unpredictable alterations in their DNA. The process of gene insertion can delete one or more of the DNA’s own natural genes, scramble them, turn them off, or permanently turn them on. It can also change the expression levels of hundreds of genes. And growing the transformed cell into a GM plant through a process called tissue culture can create hundreds or thousands of additional mutations throughout the DNA.

Most of these possibilities have not been properly evaluated in Roundup Ready soy. We don’t know how many mutations or altered gene expressions are found in its DNA. Years after it was marketed, however, scientists did discover a section of natural soy DNA that was scrambled[12] and two additional fragments of the foreign gene that had escaped Monsanto’s detection.

Those familiar with the body of GM safety studies are often astounded by their superficiality. Moreover, several scientists who discovered incriminating evidence or even expressed concerns about the technology have been fired, threatened, stripped of responsibilities, or censured.[13] And when problems do arise, they are not followed up. For example, animals fed GM crops developed potentially precancerous cell growth, smaller brains, livers and testicles, damaged immune systems, bigger livers, partial atrophy of the liver, lesions in the livers, stomachs, and kidneys, inflammation of the kidneys, problems with their blood cells, higher blood sugar levels, and unexplained increases in the death rate. (See Spilling the Beans, August 2004.) None have been adequately followed-up or accounted for.

Ermakova’s research, however, will likely change that. That’s because her study is easy to repeat and its results are so extreme. A 55.6% mortality rate is enormous and very worrisome. Repeating the study is the only reasonable option.

American Academy of Environmental Medicine Urges NIH to Follow Up Study

I presented Dr. Ermakova’s findings, with her permission, at the annual conference of the American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) in Tucson on October 27, 2005. In response, the AAEM board passed a resolution asking the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) to sponsor an immediate, independent follow-up of the study. Dr. Jim Willoughby, the Academy’s president, said, " Genetically modified soy, corn, canola, and cottonseed oil are being consumed daily by a significant proportion of our population. We need rigorous, independent and long-term studies to evaluate if these foods put the population at risk."

Unfortunately, there is a feature about GM crops that makes even follow-up studies a problem. In 2003, a French laboratory analyzed the inserted genes in five GM varieties, including Roundup Ready soybeans.[14] In each case, the genetic sequence was different than that which had been described by the biotech companies years earlier. Had all the companies made a mistake? That’s unlikely. Rather, the inserted genes probably rearranged over time. A Brussels lab confirmed that the genetic sequences were different than what was originally listed. But the sequences discovered in Brussels didn’t all match those found by the French.[15] This suggests that the inserted genes are unstable and can change in different ways. It also means that they are creating new proteins —ones that were never intended or tested. The Roundup Ready soybeans used in the Russian test may therefore be quite different from the Roundup Ready soybeans used in follow-up studies.

Unstable genes make accurate safety testing impossible. It also may explain some of the many problems reported about GM foods. For example, nearly 25 farmers in the US and Canada say that certain GM corn varieties caused their pigs to become sterile, have false pregnancies, or give birth to bags of water. A farmer in Germany claims that a certain variety of GM corn killed 12 of his cows and caused others to fall sick. And Filipinos living next to a GM cornfield developed skin, respiratory, and intestinal symptoms and fever, while the corn was pollinating. The mysterious symptoms returned the following year, also during pollination, and blood tests on 39 of the Filipinos showed an immune response to the Bt toxin—created by the GM corn.

These problems may be due to particular GM varieties, or they may result from a GM crop that has "gone bad" due to genetic rearrangements. Even GM plants with identical gene sequences, however, might act differently. The amount of Bt toxin in the Philippine corn study described above, for example, varied considerably from kernel to kernel, even in the same plant.[16]

With billions of dollars invested in GM foods, no adverse finding has yet been sufficient to reverse the industry’s growth in the US. It may take some dramatic, indisputable, and life-threatening discovery. That is why Ermakova’s findings are so important. If the study holds up, it may topple the GM food industry.

I urge the NIH to agree to the AAEM’s request, and fund an immediate, independent follow-up study. If NIH funding is not forthcoming, our Institute for Responsible Technology will try to raise the money. This is not the time to wait. There is too much at stake.

Jeffrey M. Smith is working with a team of international scientists to catalog all known health risks of GM foods. He is the author of Seeds of Deception, the world’s bestselling book on GM food, and the producer of the video, Hidden Dangers in Kids' Meals.


[1] "Statement of Policy: Foods Derived from New Plant Varieties," Federal Register vol. 57, no. 104 at 22991, May 29, 1992
[2] Louis J. Pribyl, "Biotechnology Draft Document, 2/27/92," March 6, 1992, http://www.biointegrity.org
[3] Epidemiologist Judy Carman's testimony before New Zealand's Royal Commission of Inquiry on Genetic Modification, 2001.
[4] Malatesta M, Caporaloni C, Gavaudan S, Rocchi MB, Serafini S, Tiberi C, Gazzanelli G. (2002a) Ultrastructural morphometrical and immunocytochemical analyses of hepatocyte nuclei from mice fed on genetically modified soybean. Cell Struct Funct. 27: 173-180.
[5] Manuela Malatesta, et al, Ultrastructural analysis of pancreatic acinar cells from mice fed on genetically modified soybean, Journal of Anatomy, Volume 201 Issue 5 Page 409 - November 2002
[6] Stephen R. Padgette and others, "The Composition of Glyphosate- Tolerant Soybean Seeds Is Equivalent to That of Conventional Soybeans," The Journal of Nutrition, vol. 126, no. 4, April 1996 (The data was taken from the journal archives, as it had been omitted from the published study.)
[7] Lappe, M.A., Bailey, E.B., Childress, C. and Setchell, K.D.R. (1999) Alterations in clinically important phytoestrogens in genetically modified, herbicide-tolerant soybeans. Journal of Medical Food 1, 241-245.
[8] Stephen R. Padgette and others, "The Composition of Glyphosate- Tolerant Soybean Seeds Is Equivalent to That of Conventional Soybeans," The Journal of Nutrition, vol. 126, no. 4, April 1996
[9] For example, Ian F. Pryme and Rolf Lembcke, "In Vivo Studies on Possible Health Consequences of genetically modified food and Feed?with Particular Regard to Ingredients Consisting of Genetically Modified Plant Materials," Nutrition and Health, vol. 17, 2003
[10] Doerfler W; Schubbert R, "Uptake of foreign DNA from the environment: the gastrointestinal tract and the placenta as portals of entry," Journal of molecular genetics and genetics Vol 242: 495-504, 1994
[11] Raffaele Mazza1, et al, "Assessing the Transfer of Genetically Modified DNA from Feed to Animal Tissues," Transgenic Research, October 2005, Volume 14, Number 5, pp 775 - 784
[12] P. Windels, I. Taverniers, A. Depicker, E. Van Bockstaele, and M. DeLoose, "Characterisation of the Roundup Ready soybean insert," European Food Research and Technology, vol. 213, 2001, pp. 107-112
[13] Jeffrey M. Smith, Seeds of Deception, Yes! Books, 2003
[14] Collonier C, Berthier G, Boyer F, Duplan M-N, Fernandez S, Kebdani N, Kobilinsky A, Romanuk M, Bertheau Y. Characterization of commercial GMO inserts: a source of useful material to study genome fluidity. Poster presented at ICPMB: International Congress for Plant Molecular Biology (n°VII), Barcelona, 23-28th June 2003. Poster courtesy of Dr. Gilles-Eric Seralini, Président du Conseil Scientifique du CRII-GEN, www.crii-gen.org; also "Transgenic lines proven unstable" by Mae-Wan Ho, ISIS Report, 23 October 2003 www.i- sis.org.uk
[15] http://www.i-sis.org.uk/UTLI.php
[16] http://www.seedsofdeception.com/utility/showArticle/?objectID=36

© Copyright 2005 by Jeffrey M. Smith. Permission is granted to reproduce this in whole or in part.

4. Farmers concerned over D&PL's terminator patent

Financial Express, October 28, 2005

NEW DELHI, OCT 27: Indian farmers have expressed grave concern over the patent rights accorded to Delta & Pine Land in Europe and US over its controversial terminator technology. They have expressed fears that the company which has recently declared that it would foray into the country’s farm sector in big way, may bring in the terminator technology. This terminator technology is detrimental to the interests of farmers, they said.

Speaking to FE, the executive chairman of Bharat Krishak Samaj, Dr Krishan Bir Chaudhary said: "The government should take immediate steps to ban terminator technology in the country. It should immediately review the activities and intentions of Delta & Pine Land. The company should not be allowed any field trials of terminator seeds. The pollen flow from plants with terminator technology to other crops will have dangerous consequences. It would make the pollen-affected crops sterile."

Mr Chaudhary said that the hidden agenda of the corporate houses is to monopolise the seed sector. It is for this reason the seed companies are producing hybrid seeds which the farmers cannot save for the next season.

They usually do not produce conventional varietal seeds which the farmers can save for the next season. Now with the terminator technology, the seed companies intends to complete their agenda of monopolising the entire seed sector as the plants of terminator technology will produce only sterile seeds, he said.

Greenpeace has recently exposed the details of the patent for the controversial "terminator technology" granted in Europe on 5 October 2005.

The terminator patent has been approved for all plants that are genetically engineered so that their seeds will not germinate.

Further research by the "Ban Terminator Campaign", a network of farmers' unions and environmental organisations revealed that a patent was also granted in Canada on 11 October 2005.

"Farmers should be aware that corporations all over the world are ready to take control of their seeds with genetic engineering (GE). These corporations will control the entire food chain with the help of monopoly patents and terminator technology. We need a global ban on this technology and on any patents on seeds. These corporate instruments will disrupt the backbone of global food supply, making it impossible for the farmers to reuse their own harvest for planting," said Christoph Then of Greenpeace International.

So far, the market introduction of the Terminator technology - which was already developed about ten years ago - was successfully prevented through worldwide protest of several groups and stakeholders. But many observers believe that the GE industry will drive towards the legalisation of this technology at the meeting of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity in March next year. The grant of the patent could push even harder for market introduction, said Lucy Sharratt, Coordinator of the new global Ban Terminator Campaign, which involves farmers unions, environmental and Indigenous peoples organisations.

Mr Harry Collins of D&PL in the Agra/Industrial Biotechnology Legal Letter has said : "We've continued right on with work on the Technology Protection System [Terminator]. We never really slowed down. We're on target, moving ahead to commercialize it. We never really backed off."

The company states that it may be "several years" before their technology is commercially available but also says that "Once developed, we intend licensing of this technology to be widely available to other seed companies"

5. Resistant pigweed plagues central Georgia cotton

By Brad Haire, University of Georgia
Southeast Farm Press, Oct 27, 2005

Earlier this year Georgia confirmed the world's first population of Palmer amaranth resistant to glyphosate, a herbicide commonly sold under the brand name Roundup. This will cause problems for cotton farmers, says a University of Georgia weed specialist.

Right now, glyphosate-resistant Palmer amaranth is known to infest about 500 acres of cotton in central Georgia. Stanley Culpepper, a UGA Cooperative Extension weed scientist studying the outbreak, said seeds from at least 100 fields in the area have been harvested to determine any further distribution.

"This could be a real threat to future cotton production in our region," he says. "It's the one weed cotton farmers didn't want resistant to Roundup."

Palmer amaranth, also called pigweed, is found throughout the state. The troublesome weed can quickly grow more than 8 feet tall with a thick stalk and suck valuable nutrients from nearby plants. It can clog a cotton picker, too, making it hard to harvest the crop.

In 1997, farmers started planting cotton that was developed to stay healthy when sprayed with Roundup. They could spray the herbicide over-the-top of this cotton, killing weeds, but not the cotton. This saved farmers time and money because they didn't have to repeatedly plow between rows to kill weeds.

Roundup Ready varieties cost more than conventional cottons. But farmers gladly embraced the new technology, Culpepper says.

About 94 percent of Georgia's 1.21 million acres of cotton this year is Roundup Ready.

"Roundup has been our most effective tool to manage this weed in Roundup Ready crops," he says. "Most alternative control options are much less effective than Roundup in controlling a normal population of Palmer amaranth."

Each year, some Georgia farmers have to deal with some Palmer amaranth plants that continue to grow after a spray with Roundup. This usually happens due to weather conditions or improper spraying.

Specialists with the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences last fall suspected some Palmer amaranth weeds in central Georgia had resistance to Roundup. Many field and greenhouse trials and heritability studies now show that the Palmer amaranth population in central Georgia has true resistance, he says.

Scientists with Monsanto, registrant of Roundup Ready, are providing technical expertise and other help to address the problem, Culpepper says.

Farmers need to watch their fields carefully this year and remove any Palmer amaranth not hurt after a spray with Roundup, he says. This could help keep resistant plants from spreading.

It's too early to say what long-term effect this will have on cotton production in Georgia. But if farmers are no longer able to control this weed with Roundup, things will have to change.

Farmers may once again have to plow fields to manage pigweed, Culpepper says. This will cost them time and money. The resistant weed could keep farmers from using conservation-tillage, too.

Farmers have relied too heavily on Roundup to control weeds in cotton, Culpepper says. This has given nature the upper hand.

Herbicides don't cause a plant like Palmer amaranth to change genetically or become a resistant mutant, he says.

All it takes is one weed plant in a field to be genetically different - in this case, resistant to glyphosate. All the other weeds are killed when sprayed, but not the resistant one. It makes seeds. The next year, a few more resistant plants grow from those seeds. If the process is allowed to continue, the offspring of that one resistant weed could eventually cover the field.

This is what has happened in central Georgia. But it could happen anywhere, Culpepper says.