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Checkbiotech: CSR studies GM cane
Posted by: DR. RAUPP & madora (IP Logged)
Date: November 26, 2004 09:46AM ;

CSR has started trials of genetically modified sugar cane which promises a
higher yield, more cost-effective product, November 2004 by Scott Murdoch.

The diversified industrial group is part-way through a lengthy trial with
the University of Queensland and has already discovered that a better
producing variety can be created.

The testing has been carried out on greenhouse-bred species only, and the
trial is yet to find whether it can work in the field.

CSR Sugar chief executive Ian McMaster said the main consumer concern with
GM products was interbreeding with other plants.

That had been tested on this product, he said, with no findings of any

Mr McMaster said the current project was in its second phase and
commercialisation was unlikely to occur until at least 2010.

"We have been doing collaborative research for about four years on trying to
improve the yield in a range of different products from sugar cane," he

"It's gotten to the stage where the results are sufficiently encouraging
enough to increase our research and development commitment."

Mr McMaster said CSR's current products were GM-free and he expected little
backlash if the new variety of cane became commercially viable.

"The change that has been made to the plant has changed the nature of the
switching mechanism which dictates how much sugar it's got in the stalk," he

"One concern with GM is that GM plants will breed into other plants but we
have varieties of sugar cane common varieties which generally speaking do
not interbreed and would require an enormous amount of human intervention
(for it to occur). The risk of interbreeding is low."


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