Crop Biotech Update

Field Trials Confirm Potential of GM Potatoes for Sustainable Farming in Belgium

January 16, 2013

After two years of field trials of the genetically modified (GM) potatoes in Belgium, researchers have concluded that potatoes with multiple resistance to potato diseases can make the country's potato industry much more sustainable as the GM crops greatly showed reduced susceptibility to Phytophthora infestans, more popularly known as late blight.

In the scientific field trials in Wetteren, 26 different genetically modified strains of potatoes were tested in 2011 and 2012, each containing one to three genes for natural resistance that come from wild relatives of the conventional potatoes. They were compared against susceptible reference varieties such as Désirée, Bintje, Nicola, Agria and Innovator, and against the non-susceptible reference varieties Bionica, Toluca and Sarpo-Mira. GM potatoes scored better than the non-susceptible varieties Bionica and Toluca that are used in biocultivation. The results of the field trials are to be published in an international scientific journal.

See VIB's news release at