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GENE-EDITED WHEAT TRIALS READIED IN AUSTRALIA

The groundwork for a major trial of gene-edited wheat has begun in Australia, where a state company is growing hundreds of varieties it says could be up to 10% more productive and make farming more sustainable, Reuters News Service reported this week. Gene- editing is an emerging technique its advocates say could create more nutritious, hardier crops with higher yields and less need for water, fertilizer and chemicals. Unlike genetic modification (GMO), gene- editing does not introduce foreign DNA, instead manipulating the existing natural genome.

Australian seed breeder InterGrain earlier this year imported several thousand wheat seeds created by U.S. agritech company Inari, including hundreds of new genetic variations, InterGrain chief executive Tress Walmsley told Reuters. These seeds are now growing in a testing greenhouse in southeast Queensland. Seeds from those plants will be used to grow more plants, producing enough seeds to plant at more than 45 trial sites across the country in the 2025 growing season, Walmsley said. “Our job is to work out which gene combination gives the best results. Our goal is at least 10% yield improvement. These seeds have the potential to achieve that,” she said. “Potentially we could be looking to have products in the market in around 2028.”

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