Biotech Updates

DEFRA Approves GM Potato Field Trials

May 17, 2017

The United Kingdom's Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has approved The Sainsbury Laboratory's application to conduct field trials of GM potato crops on a designated trial site at the Norwich Research Park between 2017 and 2021.

The field trials are part of TSL's Potato Partnership Project to develop a Maris Piper potato that is blight and nematode resistant, bruises less, and produces less acrylamide when cooked at high temperatures. The project is funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) with additional funding from BioPotatoes (UK) and Simplot (US).

Professor Jonathan Jones, group leader of the TSL's Jonathan Jones Group said, "I am delighted that we have approval for the field trials necessary to test our potato plants in standard field conditions. We anticipate that the combination of resistance genes we will test this time will be even more difficult for late blight to overcome than the single gene we previously field tested, but the proof of the pudding is in the planting."

Details of the Defra decision are available here. For more about the project, visit the TSL website.