Under the guise and typical argument for creating most genetically modified (GM) foods, a trial of GM wheat claimed to repel green flies and blackflies has begun, in the hopes for the industry that it will become the first wheat to be grown commercially, with the first phase starting in the UK.
Scientists from Rothamsted Research, based in Hertfordshire, are using biotechnological tools to genetically engineer a wheat plant that produces high levels of an aphid repelling odour.
A controlled experiment is now underway to see if this works in the field, as wheat yields are typically vulnerable to attacks by aphids (also known as greenfly and blackfly).
Dr Toby Bruce, who leads the research project said in a statement: “If successful this wheat would not require treatment with insecticide. This is because it would repel colonisation by the aphid pests and also attract natural predators.