Thursday, November 23, 2017

The first genetically modified canola with health benefits is being scrutinised by the Office of the Gene Technology Regulator (OGTR), a news from The Weekly Time said on October 31. The OGTR has called for submissions about a GM canola that has been modified to increase the level of omega-3 oil in the seed. Omega-3 oils are found in fish oil. The application says Nuseed, a subsidiary of Nufarm, is seeking approval for the commercial cultivation of the canola for use in human and animal feed. The oil would be used in animal or aquaculture feed, food additives, nutraceuticals and pharmaceuticals. 

The canola line was developed by Nuseed and CSIRO.  CSIRO agriculture and food director John Manners told The Weekly Times traditionally canola did not have very high levels of omega-3 oils, the main source of which in the human diet was through eating fish.  Omega oils were incorporated into farmed fish by either feeding them wild catch fish or providing omega-3-enriched oils into the aquaculture pens but this was not very sustainable.  

Thus the decision to use GM technology to make canola with very high levels of omega-3 oil.  It was done by transferring a number of genes from algae into canola and getting those genes expressed in seed, and the genes encoded on those seeds will convert canola oil into omega-3 oil.  In a statement, Nuseed said it was anticipated one hectare of canola would potentially provide the same omega-3 yield as 10 tons of fish.   

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