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2-Plants: Thai institutions announce to develop GE rice andpineapples



                                  PART I
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TITLE:  Govt hopes to develop GM rice for saline soil
SOURCE: Thailand News Agency
        http://etna.mcot.net/query.php?nid=34871
DATE:   17 Jan 2005

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Govt hopes to develop GM rice for saline soil

BANGKOK, Jan 17 (TNA) - The government hopes to solve bitter land
disputes between prawn farmers and rice farmers by developing genetically
modified rice strains capable of being grown in saline soil, the
director-general of the Land Development Department revealed today. "If
we could use salt water for cultivation, the benefits to the nation would
be enormous", said Mr. Ard Somrang, adding that the department would work
with scientists from all agencies concerned with the genetic modification
of crops in order to develop the new rice strains. Although the
commercial cultivation of GM crops is currently illegal in Thailand, Mr.
Ard dismissed concerns over their safety, and urged the public to accept
them. In the future, he said, GM crops would play a major role in daily
life, and unless Thailand jumped on the GM bandwagon, it call fall behind
other nations.


                                  PART II
-------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:  Thailand Research Fund unveils GM pineapple
SOURCE: Thailand News Agency
        http://etna.mcot.net/query.php?nid=34784
DATE:   14 Jan 2005

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Thailand Research Fund unveils GM pineapple

BANGKOK, Jan 14, (TNA) - The Thailand Research Fund (TRF) today unveiled
a new strain of genetically modified pineapple which could halve
production costs, but stressed that stringent safety trials would be
performed before the new strain was unleashed onto the general market.
The pineapple, developed by Dr. Suneerat Sripaoraya from the Rajamangala
Institute of Technology in Nakhon Sri Thammarat, is resistant to cheaper
chemical pesticides which would otherwise destroy pineapple plants along
with the pests they are intended to kill. Pineapple farmers currently
have to rely on expensive chemicals to control crop pests, and questions
have been raised over the environmental safety of the chemicals in use.
The new strain of pineapple retains the sweetness and crispness of the
existing Phuket strain, as well as the same high yields. However, Dr.
Suneerat noted that current Thai legislation on genetically modified
organisms meant that the new strain could not be cultivated on a
commercial basis. "We are following strict safety guidelines...both in the
laboratory and in field trials, and we are laying down further guidelines
for research into food and environmental safety", she said.




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