GM Blue Roses May Soon be on Sale in Australia

Genetically modified blue roses may soon be growing in Australia. The country's Office of the Gene Technology Regulator (OGTR) has received an application from Florigene Pty Ltd for the commercial release of GM Hybrid Tea rose. The rose expresses the flavonoid 3'5'-hydroxylase gene from Viola and the athocyanin 5-acyltransferase gene from Torenia for altered flower color. It also contains the selectable antibiotic-resistance marker gene nptII. The GM rose was created by Florigene and Japan-based Suntory Company after twelve years of joint research.

The GM rose line submitted for commercial approval is one of the three lines the OGTR approved for a limited and controlled release in March 2006. Florigene intends to grow the GM rose plants and handle their products in the same manner as conventional roses. Flowers that are produced would be sold through normal commercial distribution channels to the public, Australia-wide.

The OGTR has prepared a Risk Assessment and Risk Management Plan (RARMP) which concludes that the proposed release would pose negligible risk to human health and environment safety.

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This article is part of the Crop Biotech Update, a weekly summary of world developments in agri-biotech for developing countries, produced by the Global Knowledge Center on Crop Biotechnology, International Service for the Aquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications SEAsiaCenter (ISAAA)

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