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News

New research on cross-pollination between GM and non-GM crops

Defra : 06 May, 2006  (New Product)
The results of a Defra-funded study on gene flow (cross-pollination) between GM and non-GM oilseed rape were published in the October edition of the scientific journal Transgenic Research. A team led by the Central Science Laboratory measured gene flow between the GM and conventional oilseed rape crops grown in the Government's Farm Scale Evaluation trials. Scientists from CSL then analysed and modelled the data.
The results of a Defra-funded study on gene flow (cross-pollination) between GM and non-GM oilseed rape were published in the October edition of the scientific journal Transgenic Research.

A team led by the Central Science Laboratory measured gene flow between the GM and conventional oilseed rape crops grown in the Government's Farm Scale Evaluation trials. Scientists from CSL then analysed and modelled the data.

Defra welcomes the publication of this study. It is the largest of its kind and provides a valuable set of data on gene flow in UK conditions. Because it is based on the FSE trials, the data reflects a wide range of different topographical conditions, field sizes and shapes.

Defra has separately commissioned the independent National Institute of Agricultural Botany to produce a specific report on crop separation distances for maize and oilseed rape.

The NIAB study will inform a forthcoming Defra consultation paper on the co-existence of GM and non-GM crops. It is envisaged that this will include proposed separation distances to minimise cross-pollination between GM and non-GM varieties of maize and of oilseed rape.

While CSL based their statistical work on separation distances on a 95% confidence interval, Defra have asked NIAB to use the more precautionary 98% interval for their report (so their figures should ensure that cross-pollination is within the specified threshold at least 98 times out of 100). It is anticipated that this difference will produce proposed separation distances that are appreciably longer than those indicated by the CSL study.
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