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Bayer/CSIRO/GRDC ink wheat deal

Bayer CropScience and two Australian research organisations, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC), have signed a partnership deal to develop high yield wheat using genetic modification. CSIRO has been working to develop improved yield wheat varieties for several years. Earlier this year, it was given permission by the Australian Office of the Gene Technology Regulator to trial 95 GM wheat lines modified for improved nitrogen use efficiency ( Agrow No 636, p17). In greenhouse trials, CSIRO’s enhanced yield trait boosted yields by up to 30%, the partners point out. Vegetative growth is more vigorous and seed heads and seed size is increased, says CSIRO. Initial research funding has been supplied by the GRDC and the CSIRO. Bayer will now join them to support the next stage of development. The company wants to establish a globally leading wheat seed business based on a broad pool of breeding material and local varieties and focusing on outstanding agronomic properties, it notes.

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