18 December 2000
Potatoes ask to be watered

By FWi staff

SCIENTISTS have developed genetically modified potatoes which glow when they require more water, reports the Daily Mail.

Researchers say the plant, which is implanted with fluorescent genes from a jellyfish, could increase the efficiency of food production.

Team leader, Professor Antony Trewavas from the University of Edinburgh, said the plant gave farmers a reliable method of knowing if plants need watered.

The fluorescent gene, which can be seen using a hand-held monitor, could also be used root vegetable such as carrots and parsnips.

Researchers hope to begin field-scale trials within months, says the newspaper, although environmental groups have condemned the project.

But Prof Trewavas said the GM “watcher” plants would be removed before the main crop was harvested.