Biotech Updates

Drought Tolerant GM Wheat Makes Great Progress in China

June 17, 2011

China is making great progress in the development of drought tolerant wheat. This was the assessment of experts during the on-site exhibition-meeting of China's major program "Abiotic-tolerant GM Wheat New Variety Development" held at the National GM Wheat Pilot Trial Experimental Base in Shijiazhuang Academy of Agricultural Sciences on May 26, 2011. Sixty participants from 12 units including the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA), the Chinese Academy of Agriculture (CAAS), and the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) took part in the meeting.

"Many drought tolerance GM wheat lines have been developed within two years since the program was launched. Genes used for transformation were cloned from soybean and wheat, and all these genes are our own intellectual properties," said Professor Youzhi Ma, chief scientist of this program. He reported that "46 GM wheat lines have been tested in pilot trial of which 4 have advanced to Environment Release trial. A batch of elite drought tolerant wheat lines with production application prospect was developed after multi-locus characterization in 2009 and 2010. "

Officials from MoA gave positive comments on the progress of drought-tolerant GM wheat and recommended the following: (1) Strengthen the management of GM biosafety assessment to ensure biosafety during the whole process of R&D; (2) Inform the public about the technology; and (3) Establish joint innovation teams to speed up the progress of new GM variety development.

Visit the website of CAAS at for the original news.