ROTHAMSTED APPLIES TO RUN NEW GM FIELD TRIALS
Permission sought from Defra to run a series of trials using genetically modified Camelina plants.
The plan is for a five-year project, ending in 2023, with plants being sown in April, and harvested in September.
The application follows previous GM Camelina trials carried out last year by Rothamsted across two sites in Hertfordshire and Suffolk.
The first part of the proposed research will determine performance in the field, and the seed oil yield, of transgenic Camelina plants that have been engineered to accumulate polyunsaturated fatty acids in their seeds.
These fatty acids, such as found in Omega-3 fish oils, are known to help protect against human cardiovascular disease.
The hope to develop a sustainable source of these beneficial oils from plants rather than wild or farmed fish stocks.
The second strand of work will look at the performance of Camelina plants whose metabolism has been altered to increase seed oil content.
The final part will investigate the performance of Camelina plants engineered to contain less sinapine in their seeds. Sinapine is a bitter-tasting, antinutritive chemical that can make the protein-rich seed meal less palatable as an animal feed.
The application also includes appraisal of some gene edited plants, which were reclassified as GM by the EU last year. This part of the trial, using CRISPR-Cas9 gene technology, is looking to boost the amount of oleic acid – used in both food and industrial processes – already in the seeds.
For more information about the trial, go to "GM Camelina Trial: Frequently Asked Questions". For more information on Rothamsted's work on Camelina, go to the impact story, “From oceans to fields and back again”.
Defra received Rothamsted’s application on Tuesday 5th February, and the department has 90 days from then to process it (unless the department must stop the clock for any clarification or additional information). The department’s reference for the trial is 19/R08/01.
The Secretary of State will consider any representations made to him relating to any risks of damage to the environment posed by the release of the genetically modified organisms (GMOs) within a period that he shall specify in accordance with the Genetically Modified Organisms (Deliberate Release) Regulations 2002.
The public register can be inspected by contacting the Defra GM Team at Second Floor, Seacole Building, Marsham Street, London SW1P 4DF (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, and include the application reference number, 19/R08/01 in the e-mail title). This information has also been placed on the GOV.UK website and is available here.
If granted permission to conduct the field trial, this controlled experiment would be part of Tailoring Plant Metabolism, one of Rothamsted's five strategic programmes (2017-2022) that receive financial support from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.
About Rothamsted Research
Rothamsted Research is the longest-running agricultural research institute in the world. We work from gene to field with a proud history of ground-breaking discoveries, from crop treatment to crop protection, from statistical interpretation to soils management. Our founders, in 1843, were the pioneers of modern agriculture, and we are known for our imaginative science and our collaborative influence on fresh thinking and farming practices.
Through independent science and innovation, we make significant contributions to improving agri-food systems in the UK and internationally. In terms of the institute’s economic contribution, the cumulative impact of our work in the UK was calculated to exceed £3000 million a year in 20151. Our strength lies in our systems approach, which combines science and strategic research, interdisciplinary teams and partnerships.
Rothamsted is also home to three unique resources. These National Capabilities are open to researchers from all over the world: The Long-Term Experiments, Rothamsted Insect Survey and the North Wyke Farm Platform.
We are strategically funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), with additional support from other national and international funding streams, and from industry. We are also supported by the Lawes Agricultural Trust (LAT).
For more information, visit https://www.rothamsted.ac.uk/; Twitter @Rothamsted
1Rothamsted Research and the Value of Excellence: A synthesis of the available evidence, by Séan Rickard (Oct 2015)
The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council is part of UK Research and Innovation, a non-departmental public body funded by a grant-in-aid from the UK government.
BBSRC invests in world-class bioscience research and training on behalf of the UK public. Our aim is to further scientific knowledge, to promote economic growth, wealth and job creation and to improve quality of life in the UK and beyond.
Funded by government, BBSRC invested £469 million in world-class bioscience in 2016-17. We support research and training in universities and strategically funded institutes. BBSRC research and the people we fund are helping society to meet major challenges, including food security, green energy and healthier, longer lives. Our investments underpin important UK economic sectors, such as farming, food, industrial biotechnology and pharmaceuticals.
More information about BBSRC, our science and our impact.
More information about BBSRC strategically funded institutes
The Lawes Agricultural Trust, established in 1889 by Sir John Bennet Lawes, supports Rothamsted Research’s national and international agricultural science through the provision of land, facilities and funding. LAT, a charitable trust, owns the estates at Harpenden and Broom's Barn, including many of the buildings used by Rothamsted Research. LAT provides an annual research grant to the Director, accommodation for nearly 200 people, and support for fellowships for young scientists from developing countries. LAT also makes capital grants to help modernise facilities at Rothamsted, or invests in new buildings.