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French research institute scraps GM field trialqrcode

Jul. 30, 2013

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Jul. 30, 2013
French state crop research agency INRA has been forced to scrap an open air trail of genetically modified poplar trees, after failing to gain renewed approval for its experiment.

On Saturday 13th July, INRA officially ended its experiment, being conducted in the central départment of Loiret. The trial had run since 2007, when the INRA research centre at Orléans planted the trees, with the intention of examining the processes involved in the formation of wood, investigating the interactions between the trees and soil (including assessing the impact of GM crops on the soil's microbial biodiversity) and evaluating their potential for use in creating second generation biofuels.
INRA researchers recently said that they had hoped the trial, which had already delivered "significant scientific results", would receive backing for a five year extension applied for in May this year. However, they said that ultimately, in light of the timing of the renewal hearing, commitments made in the 2007 authorisation agreement and complications arising from unsettles spring weather in 2013, the decision was made on Friday 12th to discontinue the experiment, which was carried out the following day. 

The research institute, which has a much-publicised commitment to agroecology (the sustainable field of agriculture using the latest in crop science and social sciences to develop productive, low impact and socially just farming systems), said it nevertheless wishes to maintain an up-to-date range of skills and expertise in the field of GM technology.

In a statement from the institute, scientists said they would complete and implement the studies from the trial as quickly as possible. They said that, given the scientific issues surrounding the use of wood (for biofuel) and the environmental impacts of GMOs (genetically modified organisms) they would begin work to release their findings into the public domain at once.

They added that they would be willing to conduct related field trials in the future.

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