Genetically Modified Carnation May Not Need Monitoring

November 18, 2005 - 08:55

Florigene, a gene engineering company, has applied to have its blue carnation placed on a register that would remove the need for the flower to be licensed and monitored, according to a Sydney Morning Herald article. The register was set up under the Gene Technology Act in 2000 in anticipation that in the future genetically modified products would be readily accepted in the community and would no longer need a license, said gene technology regulator, Sue Meek in the article.

To this day, however, no product has made it onto the register. In the article, Florigene said it has sold 4.25 million of the cut flowers to florists around the world. The Melbourne company was taken over by Suntory of Japan in 2003. Meek explained it is possible to put a product on the register and still apply conditions. She will make a determination on the flower by next month, which will then go to Parliament.

Reactions vary about the possibility of the carnation making the register. According to the Sydney Morning Herald article, 13 public submissions have been received, ranging from “people who object to the use of gene technology to those who are supportive.

Florigene has made a separate application to conduct the first trial in Australia of a genetically modified blue rose, developed by Suntory last year. Meek said the regulator was looking at whether a blue rose could be inadvertently released into the environment and allow gene transfer, resulting in it taking over natural roses.

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