Crop Biotech Update

Defra Approves GM Camelina Field Trials

May 15, 2019

The United Kingdom's Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has given permission for  Rothamsted Research to run a series of field trials using genetically modified (GM) Camelina plants.

This permit follows previous GM Camelina trials carried out by Rothamsted in 2018. The first part of the research will determine field performance and the seed oil yield of GM Camelina plants engineered to accumulate omega-3 fish oils in their seeds. The second part will look at the performance of Camelina plants whose metabolism has been altered to increase seed oil content. The final part will look into the performance of Camelina plants engineered to contain less sinapine in their seeds. Sinapine is a bitter-tasting, antinutritive chemical that makes the protein-rich seed meal less palatable as an animal feed.

A recent study led by the University of Southampton found the uptake and use of these oils by the human body was the same whether plant or fish-based sources were consumed. A collaboration with the University of Stirling and Norwegian University of Science and Technology showed that these GM oils were an effective substitute for fish oil in the feeds of farmed salmon.

For more details, read the news release from Rothamsted Research.