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National Research Council Disavows GM Wheat Research

In response to April 3 reporting over a leaked memo, the National Research Council has issued the following statement which rejects GM wheat research. The below statement was sent to the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network upon request, by email from NRC Media Relations on April 6, 2011.

· NRC believes productivity of Canadian wheat has not seen the rates of increase as some other countries, due to a number of challenges including a relatively short growing season and a dry climate in much of the wheat-growing region.

· The NRC program will complement the existing Canadian breeding pipeline to help improve the competitiveness of future Canadian wheat varieties.

· GM wheat is not an objective of the NRC wheat program. We will be developing a number of tools that will be used to reduce the breeding cycle, increase yield and adapt to climate stresses. GM varieties are not contemplated at this time.

· Canadian wheat needs improvement to achieve sustainable profitability for Canadian farmers. In comparison with other commodity crops that have seen significantly higher rate of productivity improvement over the last ten years, on average wheat does not produce enough return to make it a preferred crop choice for Canadian farmers.

· NRC’s partners (Canadian wheat breeders) are responsible for the final product and they use the technologies that are acceptable to the marketplace

· NRC will work closely with the producers, breeders and organizations involved in the registration and marketing of Canadian wheat to ensure that varieties developed are consistent with market needs and priorities.