GENET archive


2-Plants: GM potatoes to be grown here for first time in Ireland

                                 PART I
------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:  GM potatoes to be grown here for first time
SOURCE: Irish Independent, Ireland, by Treacy Hogan and Aideen Sheehan
DATE:   27 Jan 2006

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GM potatoes to be grown here for first time
German chemical giant BASF applies to have field trials on blight-free spuds

GENETICALLY modified potatoes are to be grown in this country for the
first time.

They will be sown on a farm in Co Meath during pioneering field trials,
the Irish Independent has learned.

German chemical giant BASF has applied to the Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA) for permission to run the trials on a farm at Arodstown,
Summerhill, Co Meath over the next five years.

The move is bound to cause controversy and re-ignite the debate here
among those opposed to genetically modified products and the companies
which claim they are safe. The plan is to grow potatoes which are
resistant to blight and won't have to be sprayed with large quantities
of pesticides.

The last time a company, Monsanto, carried out genetically modified (GM)
sugar beet trials in Wexford and Cork it sparked a wave of protests and

The EPA says it will consider any submissions made to it within the next
28 days about risks to human health and the environment by the release
of the GM potatoes.

Blight was the disease which affected potato crops during the 19th
century leading to the Great Famine of the 1840s.

BASF Plant Science, Ludwigshafen, has produced several lines of GM
potatoes that are resistant to blight and is now planning to test them
in the Irish environment.

Potato blight costs Irish farmers more than ?10m every year in fungicides.

The Co Meath trials, if they get the go ahead from the EPA, will be
carried out on a 2.5 acre site.

The GM crops will be rotated at different locations on the farm in
trials due to run from 2006-2010.

The debate on GM crops has centred on whether they can cause
environmental or other problems.

Its promoters argue that farmers have to use less chemicals when
producing GM crops.

It is expected that the EPA will be consulting with the Department of
the Environment in relation to the application. A total of 230
applications have been made to EU countries by chemical companies to
carry out GM trials.

Genetically modified organisms are defined as organisms (bacteria,
viruses, fungi, plant and animal cells, plants and animals) capable of
replication or of transferring genetic material in which the genetic
material has been altered in a way that does not occur naturally.

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

TITLE:  Potato-Loving Ireland Mulls Test of GMO Spuds
SOURCE: Reuters
DATE:   30 Jan 2006

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Potato-Loving Ireland Mulls Test of GMO Spuds

LONDON - Ireland, Europe's biggest per capita consumer of potatoes, is
weighing a proposal by German chemicals group BASF to grow varieties
that have been genetically modified to resist disease.

BASF asked the Environment Protection Agency this week to approve a
field trial of several strains of GMO potato that are resistant to
blight, the cause of the Irish potato famine that killed one million
people and forced two million to leave the island in 1845.
Today, the Irish eat some 121 kg of potatoes per person every year, or
nearly 1,000 potatoes for every man, woman and child.

Previous trials of GMO foods in Ireland have been disrupted by
environmentalists who pulled up crops and damaged fields. The Green
Party and Sinn Fein both called for the application to be rejected.

"Genetically modified crops are likely to contaminate our conventional
and organic produce," said Green Party Leader Trevor Sargent. "But the
Green Party will continue to fight any predatory tactics of any GM food
company, to undermine the viability of Ireland as a green, clean food
producing island."

Blight-resistant GMO potatoes were first developed in 2003 after
scientists discovered a species of wild potato in Mexico that is
naturally resistant to the disease, then inserted the gene into
commercial strains.

The EPA plans to review submissions from the public regarding potential
health and environmental risks within the next 28 days.

                                 PART III
------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:  EU Commissioner for Science and Research visits BASF
SOURCE: BASFD, Germany, P-06-083
DATE:   16 Jan 2006

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EU Commissioner for Science and Research visits BASF
Dr. Janez Potocnik receives information about BASF's research strategy
and ongoing projects

(January 16, 2006) visited BASF Aktiengesellschaft in Ludwigshafen. The
discussions with the members of BASF's Board of Executive Directors Dr.
Stefan Marcinowski and Peter Oakley focused on the chemical industry as
the engine for innovation and growth. "BASF cannot grow profitably
without innovations," said Marcinowski, member of BASF's Board and
Research Executive Director. "This is why we are planning to further
expand our worldwide research operations and increase our research and
development expenditures in 2006 to ?1.15 billion."

The EU Commissioner also received information about important fields of
research at BASF which the company has combined into five growth
clusters: nanotechnology, raw material change, energy management, plant
biotechnology and white biotechnology. Another issue discussed was the
current debate on genetic engineering in the European Union. "Europe can
assume a leading role in biotechnology. This will generate added value
and sustainable jobs. However, a reasonable legal framework must be
created in order to be able to take advantage of the opportunities that
this technology offers," said Oakley, member of BASF's Board of
Executive Directors and responsible for the company's biotechnology

Since 1984, research and innovation activities in the European Union
have been combined in a comprehensive framework program. Potočnik
commented on the current debate on the budget, structure and focuses of
the 7th Framework Program for Research and Technological Development:
"The European Union has set itself a target of increasing research
expenditure in the European Union to 3 percent of gross domestic
product. Programs like BASF's that create additional growth through
higher R&D spending can make an important contribution to this objective."

BASF is already participating in 12 current research projects that are
sponsored by the European Union. For example, BASF research scientists
have developed a new type of solvent with which carbon dioxide (CO2) can
be removed very efficiently from power station flue gases. The company
is contributing this new development to the EU research project
"CASTOR," which aims to investigate the removal and storage of CO2 from
incineration flue gases. The prevention of fouling by marine organisms,
for example on ships' hulls, is the subject of the EU research project
"AMBIO." In this project, BASF scientists are working to produce of
nanostructured coatings aimed at preventing algae and mollusks from
colonizing. The EU research project "NanoSafe" concentrates on safety in
the workplace and in production plants. Here, BASF is working to
establish processes for the reliable detection, monitoring and
characterization of nanoparticles.

Note for editors:
A photo of the visit of the EU Commissioner for Science and Research can
be downloaded at 6:00 p.m. under the search term "BASF
Aktiengesellschaft," keyword "EU Commissioner," on BASF's homepage at


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