What role can GM sugarcane play in sustainability

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1 What role can GM sugarcane play in sustainability 30 April 2015

2 Contents Introduction Global uptake of GM technology Evolution of GM technologies Obstacles to realise GM opportunities in sugarcane Why GM technology is crucial for sustainable sugarcane production Flaws in the crop Diversification options Status of GM sugarcane Australian GM sugarcane Summary

3 Early and advance GM crop development Increase yield Alfalfa, Canola, Corn, Sugarbeet, Sugarcane, Soybean, Rice, Wheat, Companies: Monsanto, BASF, Bayer Crop Science, CTC, KWS, Forage Genetics International Pest management Soybean (HT, insect, nematode, disease, fungal), Rice (HT, Insect), cotton (HT, insect and both), corn (HT, insect, fungi), Bean (virus), Eggplant (insect), Potatoes (virus), Sugarcane (HT and insect), Sugarbeet (HT), Wheat (HT), Canola (HT), Alfalfa (HT), Cotton (Insect, HT), Maize (Insect, HT), rice (insect, HT) Companies: Monsanto, DuPont Pioneer, Syngenta, BASF, Dow Agro Sciences, Bayer Crop Science, M.S. Technologies, Embrapa/ Brazil, SRA

4 Early and advance GM crop development Crop Composition Soybean (increase oil and feed efficiency; Omega 3, low saturated fats), Rice (Golden rice beta carotene), Alfalfa (reduced Lignin), Sugarcane (kestose and polymers and biodegradable plastics) Companies: DuPont Pioneer, Monsanto, IIRRI/ Philippines, Monsanto, Forage Genetics International, Bayer Nitrogen Utilization Corn, Sugarcane Companies: DuPont Pioneer, Syngenta, SASRI Stress Tolerance Corn (drought, yield and stress), Sugarcane Companies: DuPont Pioneer, Monsanto, BASF Other crops with other traits Linseed, carnation, melon, papaya, banana, plum, sunflower, tobacco, tomato, grasses, lentil, squash Source: CERA GM Database, CropLife International

5 Adoption of GM crops Land area devoted to GM crops has ballooned by 100 times since millions farmers in 28 countries have planted and replanted GMO crop seeds 181 million hectares of GM crops planted by 2014 (50 percent larger than the total land mass of the United States) Production statistics show a sustained increase of 3-4%. Fastest adopted technology in history

6 Why GM? A major review on the impact of GM crops on the farming system was concluded in 2014, and the main findings were: Yield increases for HT crops were 9% and 25% for insect resistance crops Farmers that adopted GM crops were making 69% more profit than those that did not GM crops increased overall yields in developing countries by 14% Some overall gains; $116,9 billion increase in farm income in the period Higher productivity per unit land area and a contribution to the alleviation of poverty 503 million kg reduction in pesticide application Reduced pesticide and herbicide run-off Reduced fossil fuel usage equivalent to taking 11.9 million cars of the road.

7 Evolution of GM Technologies Traditionally genetically modified crops are derived through the introduction of a gene (sense or antisense) in a way that does not occur naturally Two main processes Agrobacterium use of bacteria to move DNA into cells Gene gun use of metal particles to move DNA into plant cells Transgenic genes derived from another species Cisgenic genes derive from the same species or a genetically closely related species that can naturally outcross

8 Genome editing Process by which genes are introduced, replaced, removed or edited using molecular scissors (engineered nucleases) Fundamentally the process is initiated by causing a double stranded break in a specific location in the genome. The cells own machinery and naturally occurring processes are then allowed to repair the break There are currently four families of these engineered nucleases Some of these technologies have already been ruled not to be GM by the US and Europe Requires a high level information of the genome of the target organism.

9 When to consider GM technology Lack of genetic diversity or absence of a trait in the germplasm Insect resistance Nematode resistance Poor photosynthetic nitrogen use efficiency Sensitivity to water stress Negative association between traits Fibre and sucrose High early sugar and vigour Smut and Pachymetra resistance?

10 When to consider GM technology (cont Diversification Polymers (fructans etc) Alternative high value sugars Biodiesel Biodegradable plastics Cell wall degradation (second generation biofuels)

11 Status of GM sugarcane Transformation technology for sugarcane now well established in most major sugar producing countries. More than 20 different types of transgenes and stably expressed over cropping cycle. Still some issues but enormous progress Yield penalties Poor germination is some cases Instability in gene expression Many programs close to commercialisation

12 Status of GM sugarcane Company / Group Trait(s) Status

13 Obstacles to realise GM opportunities in sugarcane Exorbitant high costs for deregulation makes the current event based deregulation system not well suited for a complex polyploid crop such as sugarcane. Together with other multinationals we are working towards a regulatory system based on construct approval Commercial partnerships (genes and chemicals) Market acceptance of sugar derived from GM sugarcane Product separation Mechanisms to monitor the planting of GM canes and the collection of royalties that will come with the technology.

14 Status GM sugarcane - Australia Herbicide tolerance was chosen as the first GM trait to take to market Annual losses due to weeds around $150M Commercial access to proven gene technology through a partnership with a multinational company Relatively easy to screen for and develop data packages that could inform a change in the regulatory system Significant background information already available that would be used in the deregulation process Could offer alternative options for the use of diuron Project on track for commercial availability of GM sugarcane for planting in Many of the nominated obstacles still remain

15 a = unsprayed control b = Non GM sprayed with 4 x commercial rates c = GM sprayed with 4 x commercial ratess Weed growth in herbicide-treated (right) and untreated (left) plots

16 Summary There is already commercial GM sugarcane and this will increase in the future Sustainable sugarcane production will have first generation GM technology as part of its technology toolbox Addition of new traits Correction of genetic flaws Those industries that have invested heavily in genome analyses will be the beneficiaries of the second generation biotech crops which probably will not be classified as GM crops There are still significant issues to overcome in the deregulation of GM sugarcane Australia remain on track to have its first generation GM sugarcane varieties ready by 2019

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