Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Human tests for GM wheat

Human tests for GM wheat
By Peter Hemphill
The Weekly Times
February 29, 2012

Flour made from genetically modified wheat and barley may be trialled on humans

The human testing will be done under a program approved by the Office of Gene Technology Regulator.

But first, the GM product would be trialled on animals to see if it improves bowel health.

The Gene Technology Regulator approved a licence application from the CSIRO to grow 2.3 hectares of GM wheat and barley in the ACT each year between May this year and June 2017.

The grain varieties have been genetically modified for “altered grain composition, nutrient utilisation efficient, disease resistance or stress tolerance”.

The GM grain would not be used for commercial human food or animal feed, the OGTR said in its notice of decision.

A GTR spokeswoman said a human research ethics committee would be required to review and approve the human nutrition trials.

The latest application is the 13th for GM wheat. The first was in 2004.

The OGTG licence approval comes as China moves to restrict research, production and trade in GM products.

According to a draft law released by China’s State Council, “research, experiments, production, sales, imports and exports of the seeds of genetically modified grain should meet relevant national regulations, and no institution or individual should apply genetic modification technology to main grain breeds without authorisation”.

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