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BASF develop new technology to manipulate DNA

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BASF develop new technology to manipulate DNA PostThu Jan 29, 2009 1:38 pm  Reply with quote  

Nazi cartel BASF develop newer technology, they think Europe will seriously reconsider GM crops. They can think again!
Once a Nazi cartel always a Nazi cartel!

BASF develops alternative to GM crops

By Clive Cookson in London

Published: January 27 2009 18:50 | Last updated: January 27 2009 18:50

BASF, the German chemical group, said that it had developed a new generation of genetically altered crops, by precisely manipulating the plant’s own DNA without inserting foreign genes.

The technology, known as “directed mutagenesis”, produces new traits such as herbicide resistance, which are very similar to those achieved through conventional genetic modification of plants. But because no genes are added, it is likely to avoid the political and regulatory objections that have delayed the introduction of GM crops, particularly in Europe.

BASF is collaborating with Cibus, a privately-owned US plant science company, which originally discovered how to carry out directed mutagenesis.

The two companies have produced strains of canola (oilseed rape) that tolerate BASF’s Clearfield herbicides. Their biggest commercial target is Monsanto’s Roundup Ready seeds, which dominate the GM business.

The idea is that farmers will sow herbicide-resistant canola and later spray the growing plants with Clearfield to kill weeds in the field without harming the crop.

BASF expects to have its new herbicide-resistant canola crops on the market as soon as 2013, said Dale Carlson, a senior plant scientist with the company. That is much quicker than commercialising a new GM trait, because the regulatory process is less demanding.

“Even in the countries such as the US, where GM is widely accepted, the regulatory process for GM crops can take several years longer than for directed mutagenesis,” said Stephen Evans-Freke, Cibus chairman.

“In Europe, it can make the difference between approval and non-approval.”

But Elise Kissling, of BASF Crop Protection, said the announcement should not be seen as a step away from GM. “We are not against GM and will continue to develop GM traits, but we want to give growers a choice,” she said.

BASF Crop Protection had sales of €3.1bn ($4bn) in 2007 – out of the total group turnover of €58bn. Its best-known GM product is a potato that resists blight. Mr Evans-Freke said a group of private investors had spent $40m to $50m over the past eight years funding research at Cibus, which is based in San Diego.

Cibus technology, which has the trade name Rapid Trait Development System, uses the plant’s own genetic machinery to change its DNA in a specific way.

For example, BASF scientists specified two “letters” out of billions in canola’s genetic code, which they wanted to change to make the plants resistant to Clearfield herbicides. Directed mutagenesis enabled them to do this within a year.

Cibus expects soon to announce successful field trials with other crops including rice and sorghum, said Mr Evans-Freke.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2009
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