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UK Scientists Apply to Conduct GM Wheat Field Trials

Researchers at the John Innes Center in the UK has applied to the Department for Environmental, Food, and Rural Affairs (Defra) for approval to conduct new field trials on GM wheat.

Scientists at the center have identified TaVIT2, a wheat gene that is encoded as an iron transporter. Using this information, the researchers have developed a line of wheat that contains higher levels of iron in its endosperm, the part of the grain that is milled into flour.

Such a development is promising for the eventual production of nutritionally-fortified wheat that could help fight global anemia. Iron deficiency has been a long-standing challenge, and traditional crop breeding techniques have seen limited success in creating biofortified staple crops such as wheat.

The proposed field trial is planned to be carried out within the existing, confined GM trial facilities at the John Innes Center at the Norwich Research Park between the months of April and September each year from 2019 to 2022.

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