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2-Plants: GM vine trials given go-ahead in France

-------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:  GM trials given go-ahead in France
SOURCE: Wine International, UK, by Richard Ross
DATE:   20 Jul 2005

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GM trials given go-ahead in France

French scientists are to start trials on genetically-modified (GM) vines,
after permission for the project was finally granted by the country's
Agriculture Ministry. Seventy vines will be grown in the experiment,
which will be carried out at a research laboratory in Colmar, Alsace.

The President of the research institute, Jean Masson, made it clear there
was no intention to make GM wine from the vines. To reassure opponents of
the experiments, he said that all flowers on the vines would be removed,
to stop any possible cross-contamination with other vines.

The research will focus on the roots of the vines, and is aimed at
finding a possible solution to fanleaf virus, which stunts the growth of
vines and reduces yields by up to 80%.

An earlier attempt to start these experiments was opposed by an
influential group of producers called 'Terre et Vin du Monde'. Members of
the group include Bordeaux Châteaux such as Latour and Cos d'Estournel,
Burgundy estates like Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, and Spain's Vega Sicilia.

The agricultural workers' union, the Confederation Paysanne, is also
against the trials, but they are happy that they will, at least, be
carried out away from existing vineyards.


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