Switzerland greenlights field trial of GMO fungus-resistant barley

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Barley infested with powdery mildew. Credit: University of Zurich

On 18 December 2018, the University of Zurich submitted …. a request for the experimental release of genetically modified barley in which a wheat resistance gene to fungal diseases was introduced. The objective of this experimental dissemination is to better understand how these transgenic barley lines behave in the field, in particular with regard to their resistance to fungal diseases. The trial application is for a maximum of five growing seasons (spring 2019 to fall 2023).

The [Swiss Federal Council] approved this experimental release on June 12, 2019 and set in parallel the measures that the University of Zurich must take to prevent the spread of genetically modified material outside the experimental area. These conditions are comparable to those imposed on previous experiments in Switzerland ….

Carried out in Reckenholz (ZH) on a protected site of the Agroscope Federal Research Station, the tests will contribute to basic research as well as to the study of biosafety aspects related to the spread of genetically modified plants.

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In Switzerland, the cultivation of genetically modified plants for research purposes is subject to authorization. Their employment in agriculture is prohibited until the end of 2021 because of the moratorium in force.

Read full, original article: Experimental release of genetically modified barley under strict control

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