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Onions to test environmental benefits of GM

Onions to test environmental benefits of GM

One of the principle benefits to be derived from growing onions engineered to be tolerant to glyphosate is that they require about 70% less chemical herbicide than other commercial varieties says the Chairman of the Life Sciences Network, Dr William Rolleston.

“People who are concerned about the environmental impact of onion growing will doubtless welcome these new onions should they become available commercially in about 10 years time.

“Using 5 litres per hectare of herbicides as opposed to 16 litres per hectare will produce huge environmental benefits as well as costs reductions for growers and reduced exposure to chemical sprays.

“First, of course they have to satisfy the regulators and the growers that the laboratory results translate effectively into the field – that is what the small scale field trials are for.

“At the end of the trials, in about 10 years time, there will be a wealth of information available so that the best decisions can be made about whether or not these onions will deliver the benefits which have been identified in the laboratory. This is exactly what was meant by the Royal Commission when it recommended proceeding with caution,” concluded Dr Rolleston.

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