Divided agriculture sector spars over GMOs as Tasmania mulls lifting biotech crop ban

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Professor Sergey Shebala spends a lot of time thinking about how the world’s growing population is going to be fed. The award-winning University of Tasmania plant scientist’s research is aimed at making crops more resilient to environmental stresses and pests, but he is feeling hamstrung without access to genetic modification.

“We have nearly exhausted all the possibilities to improve plant resilience to major stresses,” he said.

Tasmania is the only state [in Australia] to have a blanket ban on genetically modified organisms (GMOs), which has been in place since 2001 after genetically altered canola escaped from trial crops….around the state.

The Tasmanian Government is now reviewing its 18-year moratorium on GMOs, which ends in November….Professor Shebala said his application of GMO technology would speed up natural processes in plants, making them more resilient to climate change.

Related article:  Biotech experts say gene-edited plants will yield greater benefits than GMOs or conventional crops

But honey grower Peter Norris was vehemently against lifting the GMO ban. “It would have a serious impact on us — a lot of our export markets are very anti-GMO….If any modified pollens end up in our honey, particularly in the EU market, [the market’s] gone….

Read full, original article: Tasmania’s GMO ban under review as scientist urges change to ‘feed more people’

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