DEFRA has approved the UK’s first GM wheat trial, which will be conducted by the Rothamsted Research institute in 2012 and 2013.
The research will assess wheat that has been genetically modified to resist aphids.
Ministers approved the trial after the independent Advisory Committee of Releases to the Environment (ACRE), advised Defra it was satisfied that it would not result in any adverse effect on human health or the environment.
Defra said precautionary conditions have been attached to the statutory consent for the trial to ensure that no GM material will enter the food and feed chain.
The trial will feature wheat plants, which will carry two new genes that leads to the production of a ‘volatile chemical’, known as (E)-β–farnesene (EBF), naturally produced by many other plants. The chemical is known to repel aphids and to attract their natural enemies to the plant.