Genetically modified wheat

Many cereals especially wheat are often infested with insects such as sap-sucking aphids. Farmers therefore spray wheat crops with broad spectrum insecticides that destroy aphids. The use of insecticides can be avoided by the addition of a gene into the wheat plant which results in the plant giving off an odour molecule which insects emit when attacked by other predators making it resistant to attack from aphids. This technique was developed by Rothamsted Research Station, U.K. who are testing this GM wheat outdoors to measure its impact on other plants. Rothamsted scientists consider that there is no likelihood chance of pollen from GM wheat plants escaping from the field because wheat is self-fertilising. GM wheat modification has been financed by the U.K. Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council who are also paying for security of the site to prevent violent anti-GM groups from up-rooting the crops. If successful it will point the way to developing other GM crops thereby reducing the consumption of chemical pesticides that consumers do not like.

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