Biotech Updates

VIB CRISPR Maize Field Trial Granted Permit

April 17, 2019

VIB has been granted a permit to proceed with its field trial with maize plants containing small surgical CRISPR-induced heritable changes. This permit allows VIB to continue the work that began in 2017.

Dirk InzĂ©, scientific director of the VIB-UGent Center for Plant Systems Biology said, "There is a worldwide consensus that CRISPR-modified crops are at least as safe as traditionally generated mutants."

In the field trial of maize plants, mutations are induced in genes involved in the repair of DNA damage. The researchers hope that this will make DNA damage in these plants caused by environmental stress (heat, UV radiation, drought) to accumulate more easily. Through this alteration, the plants can be used as a biosensor to signal the consequences of environmental stress at DNA level. The plants from the field trial are not meant to be further developed and will never enter the market or food chain.

For more details, read the news article in VIB News.