Latest Information from Oak Park

no2gm phoned Oak Park to find out more GM potato information and received the following information:

  1. the application for a license was lodged with the EPA last monday Feb 27th and press release went out then so we have 28 days from last Monday -that is if they actually also put a formal notification in a local Carlow paper as well as putting out the press release – the two are not the same thing.
  2. The resistant gene comes from solanum venturii – this means it is not transgenetic but cisgenetic.
  3. The parent is a non-commercial variety developed, as this was, at the University of Wageningen – info in the last paragraph of this link

Please see the last paragraph, although the article talks about multiple resistant genes, this variety only has one resistance.
Transgenetic and cisgenetic potatoes coming closer
The European Commission has given the go-ahead to member countries to cultivate the genetically modified Amflora potato of chemical company BASF. This is a big step forward, says Anton Haverkort of Plant Research International (PRI).

The Amflora potato is not suitable for human consumption, and is developed for the production of starch, a raw material for paper and animal feed. Hence, the potato produces considerably more of the starch amylopectine.

Haverkort expects the gene technology Modena potato of Avebé to also be approved shortly. This potato also produces amylopectine. ‘BASF has introduced an extra antibiotic marker gene. Avebé uses a more modern, marker-less technique. I expect the Avebé potato to have even less constraints.’ Farmers may cultivate Amflora potatoes only if they can keep these clearly separated from normal potatoes.

Sweden, Germany, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic are expected to be interested in cultivating the transgenetic potato. ‘This is the first time recognition is given to a transgenetic vegetation specially developed for the European market’, says Haverkort.

He sees more hopeful developments ahead. This summer, the European Commission will determine which genetic techniques continue to be classified under genetic modification. Haverkort is curious if cisgenesis (modification with genes of the same species), acclaimed by Wageningen plant scientists, would be labelled as genetic modification.

His research group is involved in the development of a cisgenetic potato resistant to the disease Phythophthora. In the research programme DuRPh , PRI is studying disease resistance with three or four genes simultaneously. The institute has in the meanwhile signed an agreement with the international potato institute CIP in Peru and Cornell University in the U.S. to develop a cisgenetic potato in Africa. ‘The introduction of transgenetic and cisgenetic potatoes is a slow process, but it’s moving.’ / Albert Sikkema


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