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Crop Biotech Update

Kenya's Imaginature Seeks Approval for Field Trial of GE Baby's Breath Flowers

June 21, 2017

Genetically engineered Baby's Breath (Gypsophila) flowers may soon be available in the American market.

Commercial cut-flower developer, Imaginature Ltd. is seeking the approval of Kenya's National Biosafety Authority (NBA) to conduct open field trials of GE Gypsophila, which is targeted for the American market. Experts at Imaginature altered the genes of the flower to produce more colors, making it more attractive and profitable. "We added a few genetic elements responsible for new color range — from dark purple to red, to light pink — in flowers from a model plant called Arapidopsis," said the notice to NBA. It was also mentioned that the initial confined testing was done by the company in collaboration with Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Services and Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation under NBA's supervision.

Kenya is a top grower and exporter of cut-flowers. Thus, when the GE Gypsophila becomes available in the market, it will help the country earn higher revenues in foreign exchange. NBA head, Willy Tonui, said that scientific analysis and gathering of public comments are being done by NBA and the final decision will be made available after the procedures.

Read the original story from Daily Nation and Floral Daily.