Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

GE wheat field trial planned

Professor Nigel Halford and  researcher Sarah Raffan of Rothamsted Research.
Professor Nigel Halford and researcher Sarah Raffan of Rothamsted Research.

Scientists at Rothamsted Research are preparing an application to run UK field trials of a new gene-edited (GE) wheat as early as this autumn.

If the UK Government grants permission, it would be the first such trial of GE wheat to be carried out anywhere in Europe where GE is subject to the same ban as genetic modification (GM).

The post-Brexit application for field trials will coincide with the current UK Government consultation on gene editing and GM which was announced by Environment Secretary George Eustice at the Oxford Farming Conference in January.

Toast

Researchers say the new wheat is less likely to produce a compound called acrylamid which forms during bread making and which is increased when the bread is toasted.

The project leader, professor Nigel Halford said acrylamide has been a serious problem for food manufacturers since it was discovered in food in 2002.

“It causes cancer in rodents and is considered ‘probably carcinogenic’ for humans,” he said.

“It doesn’t just occur in toast and other wheat products, but many other foods that are fried, baked, roasted or toasted, including crisps and other snacks, chips, roast potatoes and coffee.”

Trials

The wheat is still at an experimental stage, and professor Halford emphasised the need for larger-scale trials.

“It is essential that we test the wheat in field trials to see how it performs, not only in terms of asparagine concentration but also yield, protein content and other agronomic traits,” he said.

“If it comes through the field trial it could be made available to wheat breeders.

“Even so, it would be another 5-10 years before very low asparagine wheat could appear on the market, and that would only be if the regulatory framework were conducive.”

Researcher Sarah Raffin explained that gene editing had been used to reduce the amount of the amino acid, asparagine in the grain.

She added: “It’s the asparagine that is converted to acrylamide during baking and toasting, so a low asparagine wheat should lead to lower levels of acrylamide, which is good news for anyone who likes their toast well done.”

Scientists have already developed several methods of  reducing acrylamide in food, but according to Mr Halford  they have not been applicable to all food types and are often difficult to implement and can have detrimental effects on product quality.

 

 

 

 

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]