What does this licence allow?

Nuseed Pty Ltd has received approval for a limited and controlled release (field trial) of GM canola plants with altered oil content. The field trial may take place over five years between March 2014 and March 2019, with trial sites selected from 153 possible local government areas (LGAs) in New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia. The trial may be conducted at a maximum of four sites of up to 2 hectares (ha) in 2014, six sites of up to 10 ha in 2015 and ten sites of up to 20 ha in each subsequent year.

What is the purpose of the trial?

The primary purpose of the field trial is to evaluate the agronomic characteristics, oil content, and genetic stability of the GM canola under field conditions. The GM canola will not enter the human food or animal feed supply but some GM material may be used for small-scale experimental animal feeding studies.

How have the GM canola plants been modified?

The GM canola has been modified to alter the oil content in the seed, specifically to produce long chain omega-3 oils. Short-chain omega-3 oils are naturally produced in canola seeds. The production of long chain omega-3 oils is achieved in the GM canola by introduction of a number of genes from other organisms which naturally make long chain omega-3 oils. Additionally, the GM canola contains a selectable marker gene, which was used to select genetically modified plant cells and plants during initial development of the GM plants in the laboratory.

What controls have been imposed for this release?

The Risk Assessment and Risk Management Plan (RARMP) for this application concluded that the proposed release poses negligible risks to people or the environment. However, a range of licence conditions have been imposed to limit the trial in size, locations and duration, as well as to restrict the spread and persistence of the GMOs and their introduced genetic material. These include conditions that provide for secure transport and storage of the GM plant materials, restricting pollen flow to other canola and related crops, and post-harvest monitoring of release sites for at least 24 months to ensure that no GMOs remain.

Want more information?

A number of documents relating to this decision are available on the
DIR 123 page of the OGTR website or via Freecall 1800 181 030. These documents include the finalised RARMP, a summary of the RARMP and the licence.

Office of the Gene Technology Regulator, MDP 54, GPO BOX 9848 CANBERRA ACT 2601
Telephone: 1800 181 030 Facsimile: 02 6271 4202 E-mail: OGTR Website