Biotech Updates

Swiss Study on Reveals New Info on Biotech Wheat

February 11, 2011

Scientists reveal some significant observations about the biotech wheat study that they have conducted from 2008-2010 in Reckenholz near Zurich and in Pully near Lausanne. Fourteen GM varieties were compared with non-GM varieties of wheat and barley. "This was the first time that genetically modified plants could be examined on an agricultural basis under Swiss conditions," said Beat Keller, a professor at the Institute of Plant Biology at Zurich University.

One of their most significant findings is that biotech wheat is more resistant to powdery mildew than the conventional varieties. High resistance to powder mildew was exhibited by all the 12 lines examined. However, since there is an additional gene to the plant, more energy is needed, with yellow leaves and reduced growth serving as evidences. 

"We have to adjust things very carefully to ensure that an increase in fungus resistance doesn't create a drop in harvest yields – so we need these field tests," said Bernhard Schmid, a professor at Zurich University's Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Sciences. They also observed that the aphids preferred one of the GM varieties, while there are no significant differences in the growth patterns of worms feeding on different GM varieties.

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