Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Scientific Community
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article

UK: Norfolk GM potato trial withstands blight

Published: Thursday, August 26, 2010
Last Updated: Thursday, August 26, 2010
Bookmark and Share
A trial plot of genetically-modified potatoes at Norfolk's John Innes Centre has withstood five days of intense late-blight infection.

- Michael Pollitt, Eastern Daily Press August 26, 2010

A trial plot of genetically-modified potatoes at Norfolk's John Innes Centre has withstood five days of intense late-blight infection.

Scientists spotted blight last week on the small trial plots of potatoes at Colney, which include GM resistance genes taken from wild relatives.

The initial results, after less than a week of late blight, appear to indicate that one plot of Desiree with a GM resistance gene, has stood up to the disease pressure.

However, scientist Prof Jonathan Jones, who has been leading the three-year trial involving 192 GM potato plants, stressed that it was far too early to jump to conclusions.

“I'm pretty happy with the indications but I'm also cautious because we have not done any proper analysis of the data. First impressions appear to show that one of the two genes tested has conferred a degree of protection on the plants.”

“We'll be looking into the reasons why. We have got quite a bit of analysis to do,” said Prof Jones, group leader at the JIC's Sainsbury Laboratory.

He said that the trial, which was given official clearance by Defra, was to assess the resistance of GM potato lines to naturally-occurring strains of late blight.

The scientists planted the eight-inch high Desiree potatoes in six blocks, each of four rows of eight in an area about the size of two pool tables. Other conventional potatoes, Maris Piper, were planted as a control alongside the plots.

Prof Jones said that impact of the disease was “visually obvious” on the ordinary potato varieties.

He said that all the potatoes from the trial plots, which had been planted inside a three-metre high metal fence costing about £20,000 to protect them from opponents of GM crops, would not enter the food chain. “Our licence stipulates that all the potatoes must be destroyed,” he added.

The initial results indicated that one of the GM trial plots, MCQ1, had not withstood the disease pressure. "But the other, VNT1, which confers resistance to the widespread and destructive new “superblight” Blue 13 strain in the laboratory, looks fine," said Prof Jones.

All the potatoes, which were planted outside in the first week of June, had been grown in a greenhouse until the official permission for the trial had been given.

Scientists screened wild potato relatives to look for natural resistance, which was identified. Two different resistance genes were then cloned and introduced into potato variety Desiree for the three-year trial.

The public-funded trial programme aims to assess effectiveness against last blight, which costs farmers an estimated £3.5bn worldwide each year.

Further Information
Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 2,600+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 3,800+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters

Sign In

Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

“Growing” Medicines in Plants Requires new Regulations
Scientists say amending an EU directive on GMOs could help stimulate innovation in making cheaper vaccines, pharmaceuticals and organic plastics using plants.
Wednesday, February 20, 2013
New Method for Associating Genetic Variation With Crop Traits
A new technique will allow plant breeders to introduce valuable crop traits even without access to the full genome sequence of that crop.
Tuesday, July 24, 2012
Major Grant from Gates Foundation to UK Center to Develop Self-Fertilizing Crops for the Developing World
The John Innes Centre in UK will lead a $9.8m research project to investigate whether it is possible to initiate a symbiosis between cereal crops and bacteria. The symbiosis could help cereals access nitrogen from the air to improve yields.
Monday, July 16, 2012
Genomics unlocks key to Mendel's pea flowers
John Innes Centre scientists have helped discover the key to one of biology's most well-known experiments - the gene that controls pea flower colour, used by Gregor Mendel in his initial studies of inheritance.
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Scientific News
Ancestors of Land Plants Were Wired to Make the Leap to Shore
When the algal ancestor of modern land plants made the transition from aquatic environments to an inhospitable shore 450 million years ago, it changed the world by dramatically altering climate and setting the stage for the vast array of terrestrial life.
Photosynthesis Gene Could Help Crops Grow in Adverse Conditions
A gene that helps plants to remain healthy during times of stress has been identified by researchers at Oxford University.
Pancreatic Cancer Stem Cells Could be "Suffocated" by Anti-diabetic Drug
A new study shows that pancreatic cancer stem cells (PancSCs) are virtually addicted to oxygen-based metabolism, and could be “suffocated” with a drug already used to treat diabetes.
Scientists Learn How to Predict Plant Size
VIB and UGent scientists have developed a new method which allows them to predict the final size of a plant while it is still a seedling.
Scientists Home In On Origin Of Human, Chimpanzee Facial Differences
A study of species-specific regulation of gene expression in chimps and humans has identified regions important in human facial development and variation.
Nanoporous Gold Sponge Makes Pathogen Detector
Sponge-like nanoporous gold could be key to new devices to detect disease-causing agents in humans and plants, according to UC Davis researchers.
Genetic Manipulation for Algal Biofuel Production
Studies of the genes involved in oil synthesis in microalgae allow scientists to use a gene promoter to increase algal production of triacylglycerols, which in turn enhances potential biofuel yields.
Phosphorous Fertilizer
UD researchers identify behaviors of nanoparticle that shows promise as nanofertilizer.
Marijuana Genome Unraveled
A study by Canadian researchers is providing a clearer picture of the evolutionary history and genetic organization of cannabis, a step that could have agricultural, medical and legal implications for this valuable crop.
Grape Waste Could Make Competitive Biofuel
The solid waste left over from wine-making could make a competitive biofuel, University of Adelaide researchers have found.
Skyscraper Banner

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
2,600+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
3,800+ scientific videos