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Crop Biotech Update

GM Poplars Approved for 4-Year Field Trial in Belgium

June 9, 2021

A new field trial of genetically modified (GM) poplars with modified wood composition will be conducted by VIB after it received permission from the Federal Government. The field trial will be done in collaboration with Flanders Research Institute for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (ILVO). This will be the third field trial that VIB is carrying out with GM poplars with a modified wood composition.

The field trial is part of the research by Prof. Wout Boerjan, Dr. Barbara De Meester, and Dr. Tathiane Mota (VIB-UGent Center for Plant Systems Biology) that looks into the potential of biomass derived from plants as renewable and carbon-neutral raw material for the production of bioenergy and biobased products. The field trials will be done on one of ILVO's fields in Wetteren.

The difference between the three field trials is that each time a different gene involved in the production of lignin has been suppressed in the poplar DNA, each with slightly different effects in the tree.

For more details, read the news article in VIB.

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