Monday, April 10, 2006


La Trobe University scientists (German Spangenberg and Ulrik John) have made a breakthrough that promises to save farmers worldwide billions of dollars a year and boost grain harvests. Details are here.

The discovery of an anti-freeze gene in a plant in Antarctica (hairgrass), that survives temperatures of -30 degrees C, should strengthen rural economies by preventing cereals and grasses being destroyed by frost. The scientists isolated the gene sequence responsible for the Antarctic plant's frost resistance and inserted it into a test plant giving it under certain conditions the same frost-resistant characteristics.

The discovery has huge implications for agriculture in view of crop losses to frost each year. Globally, 15% of agricultural production is lost to frost. Farmers in Victoria and South Australia have barley crops that are damaged by frost, while wheat belts in NSW and Western Australia also suffer significant damage.

I wonder if there will be greeny opposition to using such genetically modified crops?

No comments: