Brazil expects to have first GM sugar cane
Brazil will be the first country to gain access to genetically modified sugar cane varieties, national researchers predict. The council of biotechnology information, the CiB, reports ongoing studies into herbicide tolerance, disease and insect resistance, and other GM traits. The demands in northern Brazil have led to research into giant cane borer ( Telchin Licus)-resistant varieties. There are no GM sugar cane varieties yet available, although trials have been carried out in Argentina, Australia, Colombia, Cuba, South Africa, and the US, but mainly in Brazil, it notes. “No cross-contamination is expected in GM sugar cane planting” because the plant is vegetatively propagated and not through pollination, and farmers prevent flowering as it reduces the crop’s sugar content. Rising demand for sugar-based ethanol is driving the research, the CiB says.