Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Bayer CropScience targets non-GMO wheat traits

Charlie Dunmore in Reuters: Bayer's CropScience unit plans to develop new heat- and drought-resistant wheat traits over the next decade without the use of genetic modification, a top executive said on Tuesday. But Europe, the world's top wheat producer, must overcome its fear of agricultural innovation such as genetically modified (GM) crops or risk undermining its own food security, the division's chief executive officer, Sandra Peterson, told Reuters in an interview.

The German company has announced a series of deals and partnerships to increase its access to wheat seed traits, or "germplasm," as part of its program to develop improved varieties of the world's biggest cereal crop by planted area.

"The thing that has not had enough attention is really thinking about how to use modern breeding techniques to really look at the germplasm pools and find ways to actually improve yields, and to improve the heat and drought tolerance of these crops," Peterson said.

By using marker-assisted breeding techniques, which enable plant breeders to screen huge numbers of seeds for desired traits such as drought-resistance, Petersen said the company will be able to develop new varieties much more quickly.

"It's basically just turbo-charging traditional, classical breeding. Before we see the full impact of all of this it's ten years, but there are milestones in 2015, 2017, 2019 of things that are actually going to have an impact, and all of those first eight to ten years do not require the use of GMO (genetically modified organisms)," she said...

A wheat field, shot by Angelstarsummer, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license


James T. Fisher said...

The official U.S. position on genetically-modified organisms is that there is no difference between them and natural organisms. The issue goes even further to suggest that no country should be able to require mandatory GMO labeling on food items, even though science shows that GMOs act differently in the body than do natural organisms and are a threat to health.

Amy Pearson said...

If you want to increase your knowledge on GMOs and genetically engineered foods your interests most likely also include how to avoid the purchasing and consuming of these products.