Glyphosate:

An herbicide often used with complimentary genetically modified plants (trademark: Roundup)

Glyphosate is sprayed onto leaves and is transported systemically throughout the plant. It blocks the enzyme EPSP synthase, which is essential for amino acid synthesis. The affected plant dies 3-7 days later. In comparison to some other herbicides, glyphosate is considered environmentally friendly; it is biodegradable and non-toxic to humans.

Glyphosate is toxic to almost all plants and has been used for 25 years around the world as a (non-selective, wide-spectrum) herbicide. It is commonly used to manage weeds along railroad tracks.

Complimentary glyphosate tolerant crops are now available (soy, rapeseed, maize) as part of the Roundup Ready system. Such crops are now cultivated on a large scale in many countries. Tolerance to the glyphosate was achieved by introducing a gene from the soil bacterium Agrobacterium tumefaciens encoding a glyphosate-insensitive version of EPSP synthase.


Glossary

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