UK GM wheat ‘does not repel pests’

GM wheat

The variety was engineered with an odour that was designed to deter aphids

A strain of genetically modified wheat developed in the UK has failed to repel pests as intended in field trials.

Scientists had wanted to engineer a variety with an odour that deterred aphids, nicknamed “whiffy wheat”.

While it worked in the lab, out in the field, the wheat was still attacked by the pests.

But negative results are part-and-parcel of the scientific process; researchers behind the project will now work to improve the strain.

The wheat trial was the subject of protests by anti-GM campaigners in 2012. And opposition groups said the outcome was further evidence of the “folly” of investing in GM technology.

The research project itself cost £732,000; another £444,000 was spent on fencing to protect the trial site from intruders and to stop wild animals getting in.

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