THE OFFICE of the Gene Technology Regulator (OGTR) has today granted a licence to the CSIRO to conduct a field trial on bread wheat and durum wheat plants that have been genetically modified (GM) to improve their resistance to rust diseases.
The licence allows the trial to take place for five years in the Australian Capital Territory and the Hilltops Council area in New South Wales, with a maximum area of one hectare in each growing season.
The trial will assess the performance of the GM wheat plants under field conditions, including how well they resist rust disease and their potential growth and grain yield.
The GM wheat plants may contain either a single introduced disease resistance gene or combinations of up to eight introduced genes for disease resistance.
Some of the genes provide enhanced resistance to stem rust and some confer enhanced resistance to a combination of three rust diseases and powdery mildew.
The genes come from rye or bread wheat, or from other plants closely related to wheat.
The GM wheat grown in this field trial cannot be used in human food or animal feed.
More information: http://www.ogtr.gov.au/internet/ogtr/publishing.nsf/Content/DIR162