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UK Prepares for Field Trials of GM and Gene-Edited Barley
Posted by: Prof. Dr. M. Raupp (IP Logged)
Date: April 06, 2022 09:28AM

Crop Science Centre, an alliance between the University of Cambridge and
the National Institute of Agricultural Botany, will conduct a field
trial of genetically mosified(GM) andgene editedbarley with the aim of
reducing dependency on synthetic fertilizers to promote improved soil
health, and sustainable and equitable means of food production.

The planting is set for April 2022 and will help scientists evaluate
whether improving the interaction between crops and naturally occurring
soil fungi can help the plants absorb water withnitrogenand phosphorus
in the soil, as both elements are often provided to plants through
synthetic fertilizers. The evaluation will involve a GM barley modified
to boost expression levels of the NSP2 geneto enhance its existing
capacity to interact with mycorrhizal fungi. It will also involve
gene-edited barley varieties that can suppress their interaction with
arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi to help scientists to assess the full
spectrum of the interactions and quantify how the microbes support plant
development. The field trial will assess barley production under high
and low phosphate conditions, as well as investigate additional
potential crop protection against pests and diseases as a result of the
relationship between the plant and mycorrhizal fungi.

The scientists emphasized that biotechnology can be a valuable tool in
providing options available to farmers around the world. In this case,
developing barley that can potentially reduce the dependency on
synthetic fertilizers can helpfarmers in developing countries reduce
their input costs and increase their income which can lead to a boost in
food production. On the other hand, reducing the use of synthetic
fertilizers in high- and middle-income countries lowers environmental
pollution, helps preserve biodiversity, and reduces greenhouse gas

Crop Science Centre to conduct field trials of genetically modified
barley that could reduce need for synthetic fertilisers | University of

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