Jan. 29, 2008
Nine notifications of proposed field trials on genetically modified crops in the EU were received by the European Commission's Joint Research Centre in January. Six of these concern crop protection traits.
DuPont seed subsidiary Pioneer Hi-Bred International has applied to carry out field trials on 98140 maize, which is tolerant to glyphosate
and acetolactate synthase inhibitor herbicides. Trials are planned at five sites in the Netherlands, each of up to 10,000 m2, between April 2008 and December 2017. There will also be five sites in Germany, each of up to 12,000 m2, with trials running from April 2008 to December 2011. Pioneer is developing the dual herbicide tolerance technology, under the Optimum GAT brand, for a range of crops in the Americas. Last year, it applied for EU import approval for Optimum GAT soybeans.
Syngenta Seeds plans to conduct trials in Sweden on sugar beet combining rhizomania resistance (RZ 13) with Monsanto's glyphosate-tolerant H7-1 trait. Trials are to take place between April 2008 and December 2012 on six sites, each of up to 20,000 m2, including uncultivated buffer areas. German company Planta also plans to test H7-1 sugar beet in Germany between March 2008 and November 2011. Trials will take place at four sites, each of 6,000 m2. H7-1 sugar beet was cleared for import into the EU last year.
The Polish Plant Protection Institute has applied to conduct field trials on Monsanto's glyphosate-tolerant NK603 maize between April 2008 and December 2010. The site will cover an area of 3,200 m2. NK603 was approved for EU import in 2004 and is grown as Roundup Ready Corn 2 in the US.
Meanwhile, Leeds University in the UK is carrying out research on nematode-resistant potatoes. It plans to conduct field trials between April 2008 and November 2010 on a 1,000 m2 site. The potatoes express a cystatin derived from rice seed, which has been shown to confer resistance to potato cyst nematodes (Globodera pallida). The researchers are also testing the use of a synthetic repellent that prevents nematodes from invading the roots. The potatoes have been modified to secrete the repellent from the roots. The research is a publicly funded programme not linked to commercial interests, with a long-term aim of transferring the technology to other projects in Africa and Asia. Leeds University is taking part in a £1.7 million ($3.5 million) research project on ways to control potato cyst nematodes.