March 24/Hangzhou, ChinaAsia Pulse -- China's prestigious Zhejiang University has announced that it has developed a method for creating selective terminable GM-modified rice, which could probably lead to the industrialization of the GM-modified crops.

The invention was reported on the latest version www.plosone.org, an open-access, online scientific journal from the Public Library of Science, which was published on Wednesday.

The accidental escape of GM-modified crops has been reported in the past few years, which has caused major safety concerns over utilization of GM-modified crops, especially GM-modified crops for industrial and pharmaceutical applications.

"To make GM-modified crops selectively controllable is critical for the full utilization of the plant GM-modified technology," said Zhang Zhitao, former associate director of the Rice Institute of China.

"The principle beneath this strategy is simple: the genes of interest in these GM-modified rice plants are tagged with an RNAi cassette which suppresses the expression of the rice detoxification enzyme against a common herbicide, rendering the GM-modified rice to be sensitive to this herbicide," said Dr. Shen Zhicheng, the project leader.

Shen said this strategy is reliable and inexpensive for implementation, and is particularly useful for development of GM-modified crops as bioreactor for production of industrial and pharmaceutical proteins.

"While all biotech products today are safe and nutritious, this technology could allow certain crops targeted for industrial, energy or health uses to be grown under controlled conditions and keep separate from other channels,"said Nick Duck, Vice President of Research for Athenix Corp. in the U.S.

From the March 31, 2008, Prepared Foods e-Flash