The first genetically modified canola with health benefits is being scrutinised by [Australia’s] Office of the Gene Technology Regulator.
The OGTR has called for submissions about a GM canola that has been modified to increase the level of omega-3 oil in the seed. Omega-3 oils are found in fish oil.
The application says Nuseed, a subsidiary of Nufarm, is seeking approval for the commercial cultivation of the canola for use in human and animal feed.
The oil would be used in animal or aquaculture feed, food additives, nutraceuticals and pharmaceuticals.
The canola line was developed by Nuseed and CSIRO.
CSIRO agriculture and food director John Manners told The Weekly Times traditionally canola didn’t have very high levels of omega-3 oils.
He said the main source of omega-3 in the human diet was through eating fish.
“It’s not actually the fish that make the omega-3, it’s the algae they consume,” Dr Manners said.
He said omega oils were incorporated into farmed fish by either feeding them wild catch fish or providing omega-3-enriched oils into the aquaculture pens.
Dr Manners said this was not very sustainable so “so we decided we would try to make canola which would have very high levels of omega-3 oil using GM technology”.
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