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New GM High Omega-3 Canola Being Assessed in Australia

A new variety of genetically modified canola offering elevated levels of Omega-3 oil is under scrutiny by Australia’s Office of the Gene Technology Regulator (OGTR).

Nuseed, a subsidiary of Nufarm, developed the seed in partnership with The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), and is seeking approval for commercial cultivation of the crop for both human consumption and for use in animal feed for the aquaculture industry.

Traditionally, canola does not contain high levels of Omega-3 oil, rather, humans obtain the nutrient through eating fish which obtain it from the algae they eat in the wild. Nuseed states that one hectare of its genetically modified canola will be able to provide the same amount of Omega-3 as 10 tons of fish.

In aquaculture settings, fish in captivity would be provided Omega-3 by either feeding them wild caught fish, or Omega-3 rich oils - neither a very sustainable practice. The ability to include this canola in fish feed rations would eliminate such needs.

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