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

Rothamsted Research Submits Application for Extension of GM Wheat Trial

Published: Monday, April 08, 2013
Last Updated: Sunday, April 07, 2013
Bookmark and Share
Rothamsted submits application to Defra to plant autumn-sown wheat as part of its trial.

Rothamsted Research has submitted an application to Defra to extend its current GM wheat field trial to include additional autumn-sown cadenza wheat.

Rothamsted scientists believe it would be advantageous to gain further data from their experiment, in wheat planted at a different time of year and under different weather conditions with different aphid populations. This will give us additional data under a more diverse range of environmental conditions.

Rothamsted has therefore submitted a request to Defra, which will be assessed by the independent Advisory Committee on Releases to the Environment (ACRE), and by members of the public through a 60-day consultation period.

Because the UK’s temperate climate permits wheat plant growth during the winter, Cadenza wheat can be sown in either the autumn or the spring and both sowings are harvested in August/September.

As such, the extension of the experiment will further increase the relevance to UK farmers and those in other temperate climates by covering a greater range environmental variability. This weather variability has been particularly evident in the UK in the past 12 months.

Research leader Professor John Pickett said “With the trial up and running, it seems sensible to make this small adjustment. Autumn infestations of aphids are a real problem too, especially with the varied weather we are having. These additional data will add a great deal of value to the overall investigation by testing our wheat plant under a more varied range of environmental conditions throughout the year and in accordance with the different times of the year farmers plant their wheat.”

The controlled experiment being conducted by scientists from Rothamsted Research combines modern genetic engineering with natural plant defences to test whether aphid-repelling wheat works in the field.

Wheat is the most important UK crop with an annual value of about £1.2 billion. Currently a large proportion of UK wheat is treated with a broad spectrum of chemical insecticides to control cereal aphids, which reduce yields by sucking sap from plants and by transmitting barley yellow dwarf virus.

Unfortunately, repeated use of insecticides can kill other non-target insect species including the natural enemies of aphids, which itself could have further impacts on biodiversity.

Rothamsted Research scientists, who receive strategic funding from the UK Government through the Biotechnology and Biological sciences Research Council (BBSRC), have been seeking novel ecological solutions to overcome this problem in wheat.

One approach has been to use an odour, or alarm pheromone, which aphids produce to alert one another to danger. This odour, (E)-β-farnesene, is also produced by some plants as a natural defence mechanism and not only repels aphids but also attracts the natural enemies of aphids, ladybirds for example.

This work has been effective in the laboratory and Rothamsted scientists have already conducted the first field trial to investigate whether the GM plants work outside in the field, as well as in the laboratory.

The new application that Rothamsted Research has submitted to Defra for permission to conduct the winter sowing involves exactly the same GM lines and experimental design as the current spring-sown experiment.

The autumn extension to the trial will be sown in mid-September and destroyed after 10-12 weeks in late November or late December depending on the weather.

Once the Rothamsted application is passed to Defra, the independent expert group, the Advisory Committee of Releases to the Environment (ACRE), will evaluate the application through a statutory 90 day process, including a 60 day public consultation.

The Secretary of State will consider any representations made to him relating to any risks of damage to the environment posed by the release of the genetically modified organisms within a period that he shall specify in accordance with the Genetically Modified Organisms (Deliberate Release) Regulations 2002.

The Secretary of State will place information on this proposed GMO release on a public register within 12 days of his receipt of the application.

The public register can be inspected by contacting the Defra Information Resource Centre, Ergon House, Horseferry Rd, London SW1P 2AL (e-mail This information will also be placed on the Defra website.

Professor Melanie Welham, BBSRC Director of Science, said: “We face the challenge of producing food in a sustainable way, while minimizing effects on the environment. This research is exploring one approach to solving this problem. It is important to carry out these investigations as these data gathered will help to provide answers about the potential of this type of GM technology and what benefits it could offer. Importantly, the findings generated through this extension will add to the picture of how this technology compares to others and is it vital that future decisions are based on scientific evidence.”

This filed trial is part of a five-year project funded by BBSRC and more information can be found at

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 2,700+ 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

Genome-Editing Position Statement
A group of leading UK research organisations has today issued an initial joint statement in support of the continued use of CRISPR-Cas9 and other genome-editing techniques in preclinical research.
Monday, September 07, 2015
Expanding the DNA Alphabet: 'Extra' DNA Base Found to be Stable in Mammals
A rare DNA base, previously thought to be a temporary modification, has been shown to be stable in mammalian DNA, suggesting that it plays a key role in cellular function.
Thursday, June 25, 2015
Global Food Security (GFS) Develops New Funding Programme
New programme of research to tackle resilience of the food system.
Tuesday, June 02, 2015
£4M to Fund Important Food Crops from BBSRC and NERC
Research projects designed with industry partners to maximize impact.
Tuesday, June 02, 2015
Controlling Leaf Blotch Disease In Wheat
Scientists have found a genetic mechanism that could stop the spread of a "devastating" disease threatening wheat crops.
Thursday, February 05, 2015
Rising Temperatures Predicted to Lower Wheat Yields
An international consortium of researchers has used big data sets to predict the effects climate change on global wheat yields.
Friday, December 26, 2014
New Test For Detecting Horse Meat
New test compares differences in chemical compositions of the fat found in meats.
Tuesday, December 02, 2014
UK And India Collaborate On Future-Proof Crops
Drought-tolerant tomatoes, improved wheat and grass pea could provide crops for the future.
Friday, November 28, 2014
Drugs Used to Treat Lung Disease Work With the Body Clock
Scientists from The University of Manchester have discovered why medication to treat asthma and pneumonia can become ineffective.
Thursday, August 14, 2014
Researchers Use ‘Big Data’ Approach to Map the Relationships Between Human and Animal Diseases
EID2 database used to prevent and tackle disease outbreaks around the globe.
Thursday, July 17, 2014
TGAC at the Forefront of Next Generation Sequencing Capability
The Genome Analysis Centre adds two Illumina HiSeq 2500 machines to its platform suite.
Thursday, June 26, 2014
UK Diet and Health Research Awarded £4M
Funding awarded to six projects investigating diet and health to enable the food and drink industry to meet the needs of UK consumers.
Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Better Understanding of Disease Resistance Genes in Crops
Effector-triggered defence concept describes how plants protect themselves against the apoplast.
Friday, June 06, 2014
Investment Provides Access to the World’s Most Advanced Crystallography Technology
The UK community will benefit thanks to a £5.64M investment from UK research funders.
Tuesday, June 03, 2014
Public-private Research Partnership to Support Sustainable Agricultural Systems
The partnership will support projects that will help provide solutions to key challenges affecting the sustainability of the UK crop and livestock sectors.
Friday, May 23, 2014
Scientific News
Breaking Through the Barriers to Lab Innovation
Here we examine the drivers behind the move for greater innovation, the challenges and current trends in laboratory informatics, and the tools that can be used to break these barriers.
Education and Expense: The Barriers to Mass Spectrometry in Clinical Laboratories?
Here we examine the perceived barriers to mass spec in clinical laboratories and explore the possible drivers behind the recent shift in uptake of the technology in clinical settings.
Removing 62 Barriers to Pig–to–Human Organ Transplant in One Fell Swoop
The largest number of simultaneous gene edits ever accomplished in the genome could help bridge the gap between organ transplant scarcity and the countless patients who need them.
Fruit Fly Pheromone Flags Great Real Estate for Starting a Family
Finding could aid efforts to control mosquito-borne diseases like malaria by manipulating odorants
Gene Editing Could Enable Pig-To-Human Organ Transplant
The largest number of simultaneous gene edits ever accomplished in the genome could help bridge the gap between organ transplant scarcity and the countless patients who need them.
Antioxidants Cause Malignant Melanoma to Metastasize Faster
Fresh research at Sahlgrenska Academy has found that antioxidants can double the rate of melanoma metastasis in mice.
New Therapy Reduces Symptoms of Inherited Enzyme Deficiency
A phase three clinical trial of a new enzyme replacement medication, sebelipase alfa, showed a reduction in multiple disease-related symptoms in children and adults with lysosomal acid lipase deficiency, an inherited enzyme deficiency that can result in scarring of the liver and high cholesterol.
Adult High Blood Pressure Risk Identifiable in Childhood
Groups of people at risk of having high blood pressure and other related health issues by age 38 can be identified in childhood, new University of Otago research suggests.
Analyzing Protein Structures in Their Native Environment
Enhanced-sensitivity NMR could reveal new clues to how proteins fold.
Supercoiled DNA is Far More Dynamic Than the “Watson-Crick” Double Helix
Researchers have imaged in unprecedented detail the three-dimensional structure of supercoiled DNA, revealing that its shape is much more dynamic than the well-known double helix.
Scroll Up
Scroll Down
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
2,700+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
3,800+ scientific videos