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GM rice trial20103303256

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					    GM rice trial



                   CSIRO Plant Industry, in collaboration with Charles Sturt University and NSW
                   Department of Primary Industries, has successfully conducted a field trial of
                   genetically modified (GM) rice in 2005-2006 under the permit (DIR 052/2004) of the
                   Office of the Gene Technology Regulator (OGTR) issued on 18 February 2005,
                   see www.ogtr.gov.au/rtf/ir/dir052notific.rtf

Purpose of the trial
The GM rice trial was Australia's part of an           the seedling vigour gene it has landed in. Using
international effort to identify the function of       this process the scientists hope they will identify
each of the rice genes predicted from the              genes that may improve nutritional value or
genome sequence.                                       have agronomic importance.
Switching on or off the function of each gene,         If the location of useful genes is known they can
using genetic modification, helps to identify          be 'flagged' and used in conventional breeding
what trait that gene is responsible for. In            to determine if individual plants contain that
particular CSIRO Plant Industry, NSW                   particular gene and therefore the desired trait.
Department of Primary Industries and their             There are no plans to develop commercial GM
collaborators in the NSW Agricultural Genomics         rice varieties as a result of this trial.
Centre, are hoping to find genes that may
improve nutritional value or have agronomic            Herbicide and antibiotic resistance
importance for the Australian rice industry, such      The gene construct that has been inserted into
as high vigour.                                        the GM rice includes either herbicide resistance
Understanding rice gene function and                   or antibiotic resistance. This is done to easily
identifying useful rice genes could lead to            trace the gene construct.
breeding improved rice, including through              The herbicide and antibiotic resistance allows
conventional breeding.                                 for those rice plants that have been
There are no plans to develop commercial GM            successfully modified to be quickly and easily
rice varieties as a result of this trial. Within the   identified. If the rice is sprayed with herbicide
trial scientists have looked at possible gene          (for example) the plants that survive are the
flow or cross pollination, if any, between GM          ones that have the new gene construct.
rice and non-GM rice and found gene flow of            The GM rice in this trial is not being grown for
less than 0.006 per cent.                              its herbicide or antibiotic resistance and there is
                                                       no intention to breed herbicide or antibiotic
The GM rice
                                                       resistant GM rice. The herbicide and antibiotic
The GM rice in this trial was genetically              resistance traits are only used in the laboratory
modified by randomly inserting a gene                  phase of the trial.
construct. The gene construct switches off the
activity of the rice gene it 'lands' in.               Cross pollination

For example the gene construct may land in the         Rice is a self pollinating plant, the pollen of
gene that is responsible for causing seedling          which is short lived (5 minutes) and there are
vigour. If the gene lands in the seedling vigour       no known insect pollinators. It is therefore
gene it will switch it 'off' causing the seedling to   highly unlikely cross-pollination by wind with
lack vigour and as a result grow slowly and            other rice plants outside of the trial area would
become stunted.                                        have occurred.

In the field trial the scientists observe if the       Part of the trial was used to determine if there is
seedling lacks vigour and work backwards to            any gene flow, or cross pollination between the
find the easily recognisable gene construct and        GM rice and non-GM rice on the trial site.
Herbicide (BASTA) resistant GM rice was used        The site has been closely monitored during and
as a pollen donor in this gene flow experiment.     after the trial period.
Non-GM herbicide sensitive rice grown around
these GM plants were harvested and their            GM Rice Planting
seeds were tested to see if it is herbicide         GM rice seedlings were raised in special water
(BASTA) resistant to determine if any gene flow     tubs at the site and transplanted into two bays
has occurred.                                       in November 2005. Conventional seed for the
                                                    gene flow experiment was also sown in one
                                                    bay.

                                                    Between November 2005 and April 2006
                                                    measurements were taken and observations
                                                    made of the growing rice plants. Some of the
                                                    rice planted did show different traits which may
                                                    be of agronomic interest. The scientists are now
                                                    following up with their laboratory work to
                                                    determine which genes were responsible for the
                                                    changes.

                                                    In May 2006 the rice was harvested from the
 Dr Narayana Upadhyaya inspecting the               site and taken back to Canberra for further
 extent of gene flow in a follow-up planting of     research. All transport of GM material both to
 harvested seeds from the gene flow trial           and from the site was carried out in accordance
                                                    with OGTR requirements to ensure its safe
The trial site                                      containment.
The trial was located at Charles Sturt University   After harvesting, the site was burnt to remove
campus in Wagga Wagga. The site is 85km             all remaining GM plant material. 20 per cent of




                                                                                                        CSIRO Plant Industry 2008
from the nearest commercial rice crop and is        the seeds harvested from the gene flow
also geographically isolated from naturalised       experiment were grown in the 2006-2007
wild rice populations and populations of native     season to seedling stage and sprayed with
rice species.                                       BASTA to measure the gene flow. Monitoring of
                                                    the site for any volunteer rice seedlings
The trial site was 0.03 hectares, or 3 bays of
                                                    continued for more than 12 months. Since there
13m by 7.7m each. It was surrounded and
                                                    was no detection of any rice plants during this
completely enclosed with bird netting. It was
                                                    monitoring phase, the OGTR has now officially
also surrounded by mice restrictive sheeting
                                                    signed-off the trial site.
buried 50cm deep and protruding 50cm which
then attaches to the netting. The trial site was    Findings from this research will soon be
further enclosed within a 2m boundary fence.        published in scientific journals and made public.

				
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Description: GM rice trial20103303256