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UK’s John Innes Centre seeks approval to test gene-edited wheat designed to combat anemia

| January 21, 2019
wheat seeds
Image: GMO Awareness
This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

Researchers at the John Innes Centre have applied to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) for consent to conduct field trials of genetically modified (GM) wheat and gene-edited Brassica (CRISPR).

The two small-scale field trials are planned to take place at the John Innes Centre on the Norwich Research Park, within our existing, confined, GM trial facilities, between April and September in each year from 2019 to 2022.

The wheat trial follows research at the John Innes Centre that identified a gene, TaVIT2 which encodes for an iron transporter in wheat.

The scientists used this knowledge to develop a wheat line in which more iron is directed into the endosperm, the part of the grain from which white flour is milled.

Related article:  When targeting diseases, how worried should we be about CRISPR's potential for gene-editing errors?

Iron deficiency or anemia is a global health issue, but the iron content of staple crops such as wheat has been difficult to improve using conventional breeding, and as a result many wheat products for human consumption are artificially fortified with iron.

Read full, original article: Application for Field Trial of Genetically Modified Organisms: High Iron Wheat and CRISPR Brassica

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