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BASF seeks EU approval for GM potato

BASF has applied to the EU for food, feed and cultivation approval for its genetically modified potato variety, Fortuna, which is resistant to late blight ( Phytophthora infestans). The potatoes express two resistance genes from a wild potato species, Solanum bulbocastanum. The protection conferred by the wild potato genes is so effective that the GM potatoes need no fungicide treatment against late blight during the growing season, although a single treatment against blight may be necessary during senescence, the company notes. The potatoes do still need protection against early blight ( Alternaria solani). BASF began development work on Fortuna in 2003, with field trials taking place since 2006 in Belgium, the Czech Republic, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and the UK. A commercial launch is expected for 2014–15. BASF introduced its GM Amflora amylopectin potato line in Germany and Sweden this year ( Agrow No610, p 24).

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