05 July 1999
Breakthrough to drugs from GM plants

BRITISH scientists say they will be able to develop drugs from plants within five years.

A team at IACR-Long Ashton, part of Bristol University, claims to have cloned a gene to make an essential fatty acid, gamma linolenic acid (GLA), which has been subsequently engineered into a range of laboratory plants.

The university has been involved in a race with biotechnology companies such as DuPont and Monsanto to genetically alter crops such as sunflowers and linseed to make the essential fatty acid.

The team believes it is five years away from commercial exploitation of its research.

  • The Times 05/07/99 page 8