Crop Biotech Update

High-Iron Wheat Awaits Approval for Field Trials in the UK

January 5, 2022

The John Innes Centre announced that it has submitted an application for the conduct of the field trial of a high-iron wheat line they developed following the success of their greenhouse trials in 2019 and 2021.

The application for a small-scale confined field trial was submitted to the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. The trial will be conducted in the Centre's field station in Bawburgh between March and August of each year from 2022 to 2024.

The trial will allow the researchers, led by Professor Cristobal Uauy, to grow the second-generation high-iron wheat plants in the field. The wheat carries the gene TaVIT2 which encodes for an iron transporter in wheat. This was used to develop the high-iron wheat line wherein more iron is transported to the endosperm, the part of the grain that is milled to produce flour. During the greenhouse trials, the researchers focused on the fact that small molecules help long-distance transport of iron and zinc in the plant. They then developed the second generation of the wheat line that has more iron and zinc in the grain, which they plan to take to the field for evaluation and hopefully lead to a biofortified product that will be safe for human consumption.

Read the news release from John Innes Centre to find out more about the application.

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