GM/Biotech Crops Report – November 2018

5th November 2018
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GM/Biotech Crops Monthly Report November 2018


New crop plant
An international team have taken a wild relative of the tomato and edited six key genes using CRISPR-Cas9 to produce a new oval fruit the size of a cherry tomato with high levels of lycopene content.  Lycopene is an antioxidant with known health benefits. More

More oil in Biofuel crops
Oil content of plant cells is regulated by a sugar-signalling molecule and by engineering plants to have higher sugar content, oil content is also increased adding to the calorific value of biofuel crops.
Pic: Ariaf Anante
More productive maize
Engineering maize to have higher levels of rubisco leads to more efficient CO2 capture but also has the benefit of conferring greater tolerance of heat and drought.  More
Pic: Jinjian Liang
Gene gun used on wheat
Wheat does not grow well in tissue culture, making genetic improvements difficult but researchers in Japan have used a gene gun for transient expression of CRISPR-Cas9 modifications in mature wheat embryos with a 5% success rate. More
Pic: Alexander Olm
RiceOct Improved rice yields
Tiller numbers in rice are affected by the levels of the OsAAP3 gene and knocking out this gene using CRISPR-Cas9 editing can boost yield and improve nitrogen use efficiency if plants are grown in suitably fertile conditions. More
Pic: Audrey Law
Mosquitoes beware
Scientists at Imperial College, London have eradicated a caged population of mosquitoes by switching off the genes that cause eggs to develop into female mosquitoes.  With males carrying the heritable modification it quickly spread throughout the population and by 7 – 11 generations no females were produced. More
Pic:Dept Foreign Affairs & Trade
Gene editing is OK
While the European Court of Justice has ruled that gene-edited plants should be subject to the same strict rules as GM plants, DEFRA minister George Eustice has stated that the UK disagrees with this ruling and says that gene-editing is merely an extension of traditional breeding techniques provided that no foreign DNA is involved. More
Pic: George Eustice
Blue roses
Blue roses are currently produced by florists dying white roses but now geneticists have spliced some enzymes from bacteria into the rose genome where they convert the already present L –glutamine into a blue pigment to produce naturally blue roses. More
Picf: Tanakawho
 Blue Roses



It’s growth Jim
Growing plants in space means that they have to cope with at least low levels of gravity and this apparently hinders the mycorrhizal relationships between roots and soil fungi.  The decreased nutrient uptake would seriously hinder growth but scientists have discovered that elevated doses of the plant hormone strigolactone counters this negative effect and could make space farming feasible. More
Pic: Wake Up Freeman

Multiple insect resistance in rice
The genes CRY1Ab and Vip3a are two different genes that confer insect resistance.  Now researchers have developed rice that expresses a fusion protein of both these genes in the hope that this double resistance will lessen the risk of resistance developing in the target insects.  This rice is resistant to both Asiatic rice borer and rice leaf roller
Pic: John_amend_all2000


    • MON88702 – maize with hemipteran insect resistance approved for food use in Australia, New Zealand and America.
    • VCO-01981-5 – maize with glyphosate tolerance approved for food use in South Korea.
    • 81910 – cotton with tolerance of 2,4-D and glufosinate approved for commercialisation of food, feed and environmental use in Brazil and for food and feed use in Japan.
    • MZIR098 – maize with tolerance of glufosinate and multiple insect resistance including Coleopterans approved for food and feed use in Brazil.
    • A2704-12 – soybean with tolerance of glufosinate approved for food and feed use in Nigeria.
    • DP 356043 – soybean with tolerance of glufosinate and sulfonyl urea herbicides approved for food and feed use in Nigeria.
    • A5547-127 – soybean with tolerance of glufosinate approved for food and feed use in Nigeria.
    • MON87708 – soybean with tolerance of glyphosate and dicamba approved for food and feed use in Nigeria.
    • FG72 – soybean with tolerance of glyphosate and isoxaflutole herbicides approved for food and feed use in Nigeria.



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