Review: Experimental Year 2018

University of Zurich Applies for Continuation of Field Trials with Powdery Mildew-Resistant Wheat

13.11.2018: Since 2014, University of Zurich (UZH) researchers have been conducting field trials on the Protected Site at Agroscope Reckenholz with genetically modified (GM) wheat with improved powdery-mildew resistance conferred by the Pm3 resistance gene from wheat (description of the project). The release authorisation, which is a prerequisite for field trials with GM plants, expires at the end of this year. In late October 2018, the UZH submitted a new request for release to the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) (information page of FOEN) which would enable it to carry out the trials for a further five years. The UZH proposes to implement the same safety measures imposed on them by the FOEN in the previous field trial.

The aim of the new trials is to investigate the offspring of a cross between the wheat lines studied to date which bear a combination of three or four Pm3 variants (‘alleles’), as well as lines with one of three Pm3 variants that have not been studied under field conditions yet. An additional aim is to characterise in the field wheat plants carrying the two Pm3 variants from rye, Pm8 and Pm17. These two genes, already introduced into wheat by classical breeding in the last century, are to be investigated individually or in combination, also with Pm3 variants from wheat. The aim of the recently requested field trial is an improved understanding of the plant immune system. Thus, the planned trial will form part of the basic research conducted at the UZH.

22.01.2018: Initial results of the field trial on GM wheat with improved powdery mildew resistance,  running since 2014, were published in an international peer-reviewed journal. For more information see media release of the University of Zurich.