The Effectiveness of Roundup on Plant Growth


The following experiment which I will be conducting serves the purpose of determining the effectiveness that a herbicide will prove to have on a genetically modified plant in comparison to the unwanted plants in a competition which are plants commonly known as weeds. Farmers constantly face crop issues when their harvest is delayed by weeds. The weeds compete with their crops for nutrients, water, and sunlight. With this in mind, the objective is to determine if the herbicide will truly provide an advantage in the growth of the genetically modified crops.

The purpose of the herbicide is to eliminate the weeds using an enzyme which is found in the herbicide known as glyphosate. However, the genetically modified plants will not be affected by the enzyme since they are modified for this reason to be resistant to the enzyme. In this case, the use of unmodified soybean seeds will be a representation of the unwanted weeds. While the genetically modified soybean seeds will represent plants with modified characteristics that will be resistant to the herbicide which will be purchased from a laboratory.

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. The enzyme glyphosate will be represented by a herbicide known as Roundup weed killer since there is a high concentration of the enzyme in this product.

Roundup is a weed killer which has been used by farmers for many years in order to eliminate the unwanted weeds in their crops in order to allow their products to grow quicker and more effectively by not having to share the resources with unwanted weeds.

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However, studies from Washington State University show that it is actually still highly concerning for farmers if whether or not the use of herbicides is still effective in the elimination of these weeds and in actually enhancing the growth rate of the modified plants. Seeing as farmers have increased the amount of herbicide used seeing as the weeds have slowly become resistant to it. “the spread of resistant weeds that force farmers to increase herbicide application rates especially glyphosate” [footnoteRef:0] [0: ]

Herbicides are substances which are essentially poison for vegetation. Ultimately used to get rid of unwanted plants. In this case, the herbicide which is being applied known as Roundup, A commonly known weed killer. Glyphosate is an enzyme which is toxic to many plants and it is the prime ingredient in the herbicide Roundup. When used on plants glyphosate is transported into the plant’s roots which causes the plant to be immediately killed. Moreover, genetically modified organisms in this case plants refer to organisms whose DNA has been altered in order to enhance its abilities such as survival or to add more nutrients to it in order to prove more useful. Here the modification is made in order for the crops to be able to withstand the deadly enzyme of glyphosate and only allow for the unmodified plants to be damaged.

The use of glyphosate since its introduction of killing weeds in the year 1947 has increased across the world immensely. It is now being used “in more than 160 countries” “with more than 1.4 billion pounds applied per year” this information demonstrates how many farmers tend to highly rely on the consumption of Roundup (glyphosate) for the success of their crops. Even though they are unaware of the effectiveness in actually speeding up the GMO plant’s growth. In addition, they fail to consider the effect the excessive use of Roundup could have on the environment.

This experiment is of great interest to me as I have always been skeptical of whether or weed killers are actually practical and effective in completely eliminating unwanted weeds and allowing other plants to grow. Seeing as whenever I helped my parents harvest their garden over the summer the plants would always be overtaken by weeds and it would be difficult to use weedkillers without harming the other plants. In addition, sometimes the weed killer would lack and would not properly function as it was said to. The implications in this experiment would prove practical in determining the effectiveness which Roundup has on genetically modified plants in relation to the elimination of its weeds competition. Essentially proving the high use of Roundup in our environment justifiable for future generations which will continue to witness similar situations for years to come.

To what extent is the growth of genetically modified seeds effective in response to the use of the glyphosate enzyme found in Roundup on the genetically modified seeds and surrounding non-modified seeds?

If genetically modified plants and non-GMO plants are affected by a herbicide then the elimination of the non-modified plants will essentially allow for the modified plant to grow quicker and more efficiently.

Data Analysis

The charts above show the average plant growth of the GMO plants in comparison to that of the average plant growth of the non-GMO plant. Each chart represents weekly data for three weeks which is compounded into five different categories each being a different pot which were all tested differently. The first pot had no Roundup added to it, the second pot had roundup added to it when the GMO plants were at 2.5 cm in height, the third pot had Roundup added to it when the GMO plants were at 5 cm in height, the fourth pot had Roundup added to it when the GMO plants were at 10 cm in height, and finally the fifth pot had Roundup added to it when the GMO plants were at 15 cm in height. Analyzing the data it is noticeable how in the 2nd-3rd week there were major gaps in the height difference between the GMO and non-GMO plant. Specifically, in the 2nd pot of plants which was sprayed with Roundup at an early stage of 2.5cm. Essentially, demonstrating how early on the non-GMO plants were affected due to the Roundup and causing a stunt to their growth. In comparison to the 1st pot of plants which contained no Roundup, there is a noticeable competition between the plants and also an obvious lack of growth potential in both plants.


In conclusion, the following experiment has demonstrated that the effects of Roundup or Glyphosate are greatly effective on the growth of the GMO plants. The Roundup proved to alter the growth of the non-GMO plants in order to allow the GMO plants to grow more efficiently. The prime example of this is seen in the week 3 data, specifically in the 2nd pot where Roundup was applied when the plant reached the height of 2.5cm. Here it shows an evident gap between both plants. The GMO plant reaching an average height of 20 cm while the non-GMO plant falls behind only making it to an average of 5.8 cm. Here it is seen how when Roundup was applied at an early stage of the plant’s development it stunted the growth of the non-GMO plants and allowed for the GMO plant to flourish and grow with great potential and with nothing holding it back.

The plant quickly grew to 20 cm while the other stayed at 5.8 cm in the span of three weeks. In comparison to the control variable which is identified as the 1st pot which no plant was sprayed with Roundup. In this section, it is seen how the plants matchup closely, height wise. For example, by the third week, the GMO plant was only at 12.4 cm in height while the non-GMO plant was close at 12.8 cm. Essentially, demonstrating how close in relation to the height they both were and how much they lacked growth in comparison to the 2nd pot which showed how the GMO plant managed to grow up to 20 cm with no competition. Furthermore, this proved my hypothesis correct in showing how the elimination of non-GMO plants with the use of Roundup greatly affected the GMO plant’s growth in a positive aspect allowing it to grow to its potential with no competition.

For starters, some limitations which should be taken into consideration are the fact that weather conditions played a major impact in the plant’s development. Due to cold temperatures, they were not able to remain outside. Therefore, they were kept inside in room temperature and near a window so they would all receive sunlight. However, some factors which could have been affected is that of lack of sunlight to some pots compared to others, based on the placement of each. In addition, the fact that they were not actually outside can also slightly affect their growth. Water distribution can also play another factor, depending on how much water each plant actually received seeing as sometimes on accident, slightly more water was added to other plants in relation to others. In regards to the Roundup, however, this can have a slight effect on the plant growth seeing as the sprays placed on each pot might have not reached each plant correctly or equally distributed between each causing less of an effect to each. Possibly creating a limitation for accurate results. In addition, the span of three weeks perhaps was a small window for the best results in the plant’s growth.

In regards to these limitations, the most applicable adjustments to make would be that of making sure each plant was receiving enough sunlight by placing each pot in a separate window which exposed it to the sun, measuring the amount of water placed in each pot can also help in the development. Moreover, the most significant adjustment can be made in the use of Roundup. In the application of Roundup, each plant should receive its own individual spray in order for each plant to be affected equally. Although each plant did seem to be affected by the Roundup this can still serve as a slight altercation in order to receive the best possible results.

Works Cited

  1. Conner, Anthony J., et al. “The Release of Genetically Modified Crops into the Environment.” The Canadian Journal of Chemical Engineering, Wiley-Blackwell, 8 Jan. 2003,
  2. “The Environmental Impact of GMOs.” One Green Planet, 29 Oct. 2018,
  3. “National Center for Biotechnology Information.” Current Neurology and Neuroscience Reports., U.S. National Library of Medicine,
  4. “What Do We Really Know About Roundup Weed Killer?” National Geographic, National Geographic Society, 23 Apr. 2015,
  5. Shaner, D. (2006, December 12). An Overview of Glyphosate Mode of Action: Why Is It Such a Great Herbicide? Retrieved February 12, 2009, from
  6. WSUNews. “’Superweeds’ Linked to Rising Herbicide Use in GM Crops.” EurekAlert!, 2 Oct. 2012,

Cite this page

The Effectiveness of Roundup on Plant Growth. (2022, Jun 06). Retrieved from

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