London (07.02.17) – In 2012, after a break from an earlier era when GM-trials in the UK were subject to severe vandalism from possibly well-meaning but badly misinformed “environmentalists” and others, scientists at Rothamsted Research ran a field trial without serious opposition to test the viability of aphid-repelling GM-wheat (1). In the event that trial was not successful: the GM wheat did not repel aphid pests in the field as was hypothesised and was initially seen in laboratory experiments conducted by scientists at the Institute (2).

Now another GM-wheat is to undergo field trials: an application has been submitted to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to conduct GM-wheat field trials in Rothamsted Farm in 2017 to 2018. The GM-variety was developed by scientists at Rothamsted Research, University of Essex, and Lancaster University to be more photosynthesis-efficient and better convert light energy into plant biomass. The field trial will be carried out to assess the performance of GM wheat plants in the field (3, 4).

Sources:

1. Summer begins in Hertfordshire: the Rothamsted affair. CropGen (17.6.12) (http://www.cropgen.org/article_442.html)

2. Toby J.A. Bruce, Gudbjorg I. Aradottir, Lesley E. Smart, Janet L. Martin, John C. Caulfield, Angela Doherty, Caroline A. Sparks, Christine M. Woodcock, Michael A. Birkett, Johnathan A. Napier, Huw D. Jones and John A. Pickett (25.6.16). The first crop plant genetically engineered to release an insect pheromone for defence. Scientific Reports (http://www.nature.com/articles/srep11183)

3. Rothamsted Research submits application to Defra for permission to carry out field trial with GM wheat plants. Rothamsted Research (4.11.16) (http://www.rothamsted.ac.uk/news-views/rothamsted-research-submits-application-defra-permission-carry-out-field-trial-with-gm-0)

4. Efficient photosynthesis GM wheat trial. Rothamsted Research (no date) (http://www.rothamsted.ac.uk/our-science/efficient-photosynthesis-gm-wheat-trial)

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  Another GM-field trial at Rothamsted