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GMO bentgrass found in Eastern Oregon

Published on November 10, 2010 3:01AM

Last changed on December 8, 2010 6:41AM

By Mitch Lies

Capital Press

Roundup Ready creeping bentgrass has been found in Eastern Oregon's Malheur County.

Oregon State University weed scientist Carol Mallory-Smith said the genetically modified bentgrass is growing in several miles of irrigation canals and on field borders between Ontario and Nyssa.

Mallory-Smith was alerted to the presence of the plant by a Malheur County resident who discovered the grass couldn't be taken out with Roundup. The resident contacted Mallory-Smith and sent her a sample.

The sample tested positive for the transgenic gene.

Mallory-Smith said she has been to the area twice since the Oct. 14 discovery and found the genetically engineered bentgrass in large canals, laterals and spreading up from canals into fields.

Mallory-Smith speculated the plants originated from seed that spread from a seed field planted to the grass in 2005 just across the river from Malheur County near Parma, Idaho.

Roundup Ready creeping bentgrass is being developed by the Scotts Co. for the golf-course market.

The grass has been tied up in the federal deregulation process since 2003, when Scotts and Monsanto Co. first petitioned the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service to deregulate the crop.


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