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Crop Biotech Update

DEFRA Approves GM Potato Trial

May 16, 2008

United Kingdom’s Department of Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has given Leeds University the green light to grow transgenic potatoes in an open field. The potatoes, containing the Oc-lΔD8 gene from rice as well as the antibiotic selectable marker gene nptII, have been genetically modified to resist infection by potato cyst nematodes. The trial will take place in the University’s experimental field in Tadcaster.

The application has been evaluated by the Advisory Committee of Releases to the Environment (ACRE). ACRE is satisfied that the field trial will not pose significant risk to human health and safety or to the environment. Reflecting ACRE’s advice, precautionary conditions have been attached to the statutory consent for the trial. The GM potatoes will not be used for food or animal feed and the soil they are grown in will be sterilized after use.

Read http://www.defra.gov.uk/news/2008/080509c.htm for more information. The ACRE evaluation is available at http://www.defra.gov.uk/environment/acre/advice/pdf/acre_advice89.pdf