Rothamsted Research has sown seeds of genetically edited (GE) Camelina sativa, a member of the brassica family, just weeks after regulations for scientific field trials were eased. Using a seed drill specifically designed for the relatively small seed numbers used in field trial work, the plot was prepared and seeded in just a few hours.
The big difference was the time saved in applying for permission to conduct the trial. Under previous regulations, trial sites had to be specifically identified, and permission sought from the Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) following a detailed application procedure.
Now, under the UK government’s new qualifying higher plant (QHP) status – the post-EU non-genetically modified (GM) classification for GE crops, plants can be sown anywhere on Rothamsted’s farm.