SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – The Australian Government Office of the Gene Technology Regulator (OGTR) on March 15 announced that it has received a license application from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) to conduct a field trial in Australia for GM bread and durum wheat with enhanced resistance to rust.

The trials will take place over five growing seasons up to 2023 at CSIRO’s Ginninderra site on Canberra’s outskirts and at the Boorowa Experiment station on the southwest slopes of NSW.

CSIRO said the project is designed to evaluate agronomic performance of the GM wheat under field conditions.

Material to be tested includes genes involved in stem rust disease alone, and multi-pathogen resistance to stem rust, leaf rust, stripe rust and powdery mildew.

The bread wheat component is proposed to produce 30 categories, each with between one and eight disease-resistance genes selected from the eight stem rust genes and one multi-pathogen disease-resistance gene.

CSIRO said it proposes to produce three categories of GM durum wheat, each containing a single multi-pathogen resistance gene.

In its application, CSIRO said the GM grain produced would not be use in human food or animal feed.

OGTR said the trial would be subject to control measures that restrict the spread and persistence of the GM plants and the introduced genetic material.