Rothamsted Research has asked for permission to carry out field trials using GM wheat plants, with the application currently under public consultation.
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The centre wants to carry out field trials at its farm in the town next year and in 2018, to test whether modified wheat plants can carry out photosynthesis … more efficiently – and whether this trait could result in a higher yielding crop.
The trial site in Harpenden is already completely surrounded by a 2.4m high chain-link fence, with locked double gates, to prevent the entry of wildlife and unauthorised people.
Rothamsted said that as it would be a controlled trial, “we need to ensure that rabbits, large animals and people do not wander into the field and damage the experiment.
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The agricultural research station … ran a trial with wheat genetically modified to resist aphids from 2012-13.
Results later showed that the crop did not, despite expectations, repel the pest.
And the cost of security measures needed to protect the controversial trial climbed to over £2 million [about 2.5 million USD], including fencing, in response to threats of vandalism and attempted criminal damage by anti-GM activists.
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