Biotech Updates

Limited and Controlled Release of GM Banana Lines

May 9, 2008

Queensland University of Technology has submitted an application for the limited and controlled release of disease-resistant, genetically modified bananas to Australia’s Office of the Gene Regulator (OGTR). If approved, the release will take place in Cassowary Coast, Queensland, on a total area of up to 1.4 hectares between 2008 and 2010. The GM lines contain the ced-9 gene from the nematode C. elegans that is expected to provide the plants protection from pathogenic microorganisms. The gene encodes a protein that prevents plant cells from undergoing programmed cell death (apoptosis) in response to pathogen attack. The gene may also affect growth and development of the GM plants and confer enhanced tolerance to a range of abiotic stresses. The banana lines contain the antibiotic selectable marker gene nptII. OGTR has prepared a Risk Assessment and Risk Management Plan which concludes that the release poses negligible risks to people and the environment.

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