As herbicide-resistant super-weeds continue to take over U.S. fields, the biotech industry are creating genetically modified plants to withstand heavy doses of highly toxic weed killers. Roundup Ready seeds have made it possible for farmers to spray glyphosate directly to fields without fear of damaging crops; industry scientists predicted that weeds wouldn't become resistant to glyphosate. But now, more than 60 million acres of U.S. farmland is covered with dozens of glyphosate-resistant weeds. Controversy is now trailing the USDA's ongoing review of Enlist, a GE corn from Dow with genes that enables it to tolerate high doses of both glyphosate and 2,4-D, which Dow estimates to save farmers $4 billion in super-weed-related farm losses by 2020, an industry response that only brings back old chemicals in new ways. As weeds continue to develop resistance to more chemicals, and the next-generation biotech crops are made to withstand more herbicides, scientists foresee the rise of stronger super-weeds.
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