“The research demonstrated at Potatoes in Practice is evidence of how the Institute develops its reputation for world leading research on crop genetic improvement and diversity, in partnership with scientific and industry bodies. Such collaborations have enabled the Institute to secure significant external funding, complementing that from Scottish Government,” Professor Gordon advocated.
The plant and environment research portfolio at the James Hutton Institute develops and uses new gene technology to study the links between genes and plant traits. However, the Institute does not cultivate commercial GM crops.
Because of its ability to use GM crops in controlled and field experiments, the James Hutton Institute has made major contributions to the development of policy and regulatory frameworks for the release of GM crops in Europe and in relation to food/feed safety issues.
Professor Gordon said: “We recognise the well documented position of the Scottish Government in relation to its policy on genetically modified crops, and respect their role as one of our portfolio of funders. As such, we will be responding to the Scottish Government consultation on a Future for Scottish Agriculture. The consultation provides an opportunity to for the Institute to provide a scientific perspective on the Scottish Government’s policy on achieving its stated vision of green, innovative and profitable agriculture.
“This will include detailed representation for the use of the most appropriate technologies to support research and development which can secure competitive industries in the face a growing number of issues impacting on food security.”
Drawing on its expertise in both the natural and social sciences, the James Hutton Institute has unique insights to the debates surrounding the genetic improvement of crops. In addition, via the Scottish Food Security Alliance, and in collaboration with the National Farmers’ Union and The Roslin Institute, the Institute plans to engage with Scottish Government and MSPs over rapid developments in biotechnology. These offer major opportunities for safe, advanced, knowledge-based plant and animal breeding geared towards the needs of Scottish agriculture and the food and drink industries and those of international markets for the Institute’s science.