Arguing the case for GM potatoes


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22 May 2023
Research scientist examines the plant immune system at forthcoming seminar.

A SCIENTIST will discuss genetic modification within potato growing and argue the case for the controversial method in a forthcoming seminar.

Professor Jonathan D G Jones from The Sainsbury Laboratory, Norwich Research Park, in the UK will discussing the topic in the online event. "Protecting our crops from disease with modern genetics and the GM method requires proportionate regulation," he states.

Over the past 35 years, significant advancements have been made in understanding the plant immune system. Jonathan will shed light on the effectiveness of the plant immune system in combating pathogens when equipped with the appropriate immune receptors. 

With extensive genetic variation in plant immune receptor repertoires, scientists have identified the genes responsible for disease resistance. By employing the GM method, it is felt that immune receptors can be utilised to safeguard crops, minimising the need for agrichemical sprays while protecting grower incomes. 

The UK's departure from the EU has enabled the establishment of proportionate regulation for modern crop improvement techniques. 

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The recent approval of the Precision Breeding bill by the UK Parliament facilitates the deployment of gene-edited crops and scientists feel this represents a significant step forward. 

Jonathan will delve into the opportunities for protecting potatoes from disease by incorporating genes from wild relatives that encode immune receptors. He will also provide insights into the history of the GM controversy and present an update on the current discourse surrounding GM and gene editing.

The event, organised by the National Potato Centre (CIP) will be staged in the ILRI Campus Room 720 on Thursday, May 25th via Zoom, where invited attendees will be able to listen to Jonathan's insights and contribute.

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