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2-Plants: Swiss agency reject bid for open-air GMO wheat test

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TITLE:  Swiss reject bid for open-air GMO wheat test
SOURCE: Reuters
DATE:   November 21, 2001

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Swiss reject bid for open-air GMO wheat test

BERNE - A Swiss government agency has rejected a request by researchers to 
conduct controlled open-air tests of genetically modified wheat for fear of 
the study's potential damage to the environment, officials said yesterday. 
Hans Hosbach, head of the Federal Environment, Forestry and Agriculture 
Bureau's biotechnology section, said the Federal Institute of Technology's 
(ETH) request to hold the test was rebuffed because it was not sufficiently 
justified. The agency had asked ETH researchers to revamp their initial 
request to test modified wheat's resistance to the stinking smut fungus, 
but even the revised application left open too many questions about the 
environmental impact, he said.

The ETH has 30 days to appeal against the ruling. In a statement, the ETH 
said it regretted the ruling. "Field trials are essential for basic 
research in molecular biology, so the ETH sees the agency's decision as a 
very unfavourable signal for Switzerland as a research centre and for its 
international competitiveness," it said.


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