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Australia to trial stress-tolerant cereals

Australia’s Office of the Gene Technology Regulator (OGTR) is inviting public comments on an application by the University of Adelaide (South Australia) for permission to conduct field trials of up to 1,161 lines of genetically modified wheat and 1,179 lines of GM barley for enhanced nitrogen use and zinc uptake and tolerance to abiotic stresses, including drought, cold, salt and low phosphorus. The GM plants express one of 35 genes from barley, wheat, maize, thale cress, moss ( Psychomitrella patens) and yeast ( Saccharomyces cerevisiae). Two trials would take place at government-owned sites in the South Australian areas of Marion and Wakefield, while a third would be conducted in Corrigin in Western Australia. They would be carried out from June 2010 to December 2015. The total area sown with GM plants would not exceed 0.75 ha per growing season. The closing date for receipt of comments by the OGTR is June 1st.

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