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CSIRO seeks high-oil GM safflower trials

The Australian government research body, the CSIRO, has applied to the Australian Office of the Gene Technology Regulator (OGTR) to conduct small-scale field trials of safflowers genetically modified for increased oleic acid content. The safflowers express fragments of three safflower genes, palmitoyl-ACP thioesterase (FATB), delta-12 desaturase (FAD2) and an unnamed gene involved in the conversion of oleic acid to linoleic acid and palmitic acid. The CSIRO plans to test up to 190 safflower lines at sites in the Australian Capital Territory and New South Wales between September 2013 and March 2016. The OGTR’s risk assessment and risk management plan (RARMP) concludes that the trials would pose negligible risks to human health or the environment. The RARMP is open to public comment until June 20th.

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