Rogue GMseed could cloud NIABtrial data

2 June 2000

Rogue GMseed could cloud NIABtrial data

NIAB officers were in doubt earlier this week over the validity of official trials possibly affected by spring oilseed rape plots sown unwittingly with a variety containing an admixture of genetically modified seed.

"We are still awaiting clarification that we are affected," said oilseed rape specialist Simon Kightley.

Even if it were shown that the trial seed contained GM material and the affected plots had to be destroyed not all would be lost, suggested agricultural services director Jan Ingram. "Depending on what is left there are statistical ways of getting round it."

Hyola 401, one of the varieties sold to growers and later found to contain GM seed, is one of the controls in both National and Recommended Lists, noted the British Society of Plant Breeders Penny Maplestone.

Trialists had three options, she believed. They could carry on as if the crop were non-GM but could not sell the output (except perhaps to the US or Canada). They could treat the affected plots as if they were GM crops, adopting appropriate protocols. "Both would involve extra hassle."

The most straightforward response would be to destroy the GM-affected plots, preferably before flowering, she said. "They would have to ignore the data from adjoining plots, but its not uncommon for plots to fail."

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