Researchers petition UK officials to start disease-resistant potato trials

The Sainsbury Laboratory, in Norwich, has applied to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) for consent to release genetically modified potatoes for trials work.

According to a document submitted by the applicant and published on the Defra website, the potato plants have been genetically modified to improve different traits including resistance to Phytophthora infestans (the organism responsible for late blight), resistance to potato cyst nematodes (PCN) and improved tuber quality.

The application says that the plants are planned to be released at two locations. The first is Rothamsted Research, Brooms Barn, Hertfordshire, where the field trial is intended to start in June 2019 and continue until November 30, 2019. The second is a NIAB trial site in Cambridge. The experiments are intended to continue in 2020 and 2021, with plantings at the first and second locations from April 1 until November 30 in both years.


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