Bundoora, Victoria, Australia
October 15, 2007
Australian farmers form company
to fund research by Molecular Plant Breeding CRC
The Molecular Plant
Breeding Cooperative Research Centre (MPBCRC) today
announced its intention to develop genetically modified (GM)
wheat with enhanced tolerance to frost.
The project is backed by a group of Australian farmers who have
formed a company, Green Blueprint International Ltd (GBI), and
lodged a prospectus to raise $2 million to fund the research.
The partners aim to develop frost tolerant wheat varieties using
a gene from Antarctic Hairgrass, one of the few plants to
successfully colonise the icy continent.
The frost tolerant gene creates a protein that inhibits ice
crystal growth in the plant.
Although genes for these Ice Recrystallisation Inhibition
Proteins (IRIPs) are not unique to Antarctic Hairgrass and are
also found in wheat and barley, researchers are hopeful that the
novel characteristics of the Antarctic genes will lead to better
ice crystal inhibition.
WA farmer John Stone said that GBI was formed in response to
grower concerns over frost damage.
“Frost damage to Australia’s national wheat crop costs farmers
around $100 million a year,” he said.
“We wanted to invest directly in new technologies that have the
potential to make a significant difference to productivity in
frost-prone areas of the Wheatbelt.”
Growers in high frost risk areas are frequently required to use
‘frost avoidance’ strategies, such as delayed planting to avoid
flowering and early grain-fill taking place during the peak
Researchers have already shown that by inserting the IRIP gene
into model Arabidopsis plants ice crystal inhibition is
GBI’s initial investment will finance research to show
proof-of-concept that the technology has the potential to work
effectively in wheat.
A similar level of investment will be required to take the
technology to the next level, namely to develop and field test
the most promising GM wheat plants.
Once the first marketable products carrying the IRIP technology
are developed and tested, seed producer-distributors will be
engaged to take the product to market.
GBI Chairman, Dr Ian Edwards, said “MPBCRC has certainly shown
that it is the partner of choice when we searched for a group to
undertake this research. They have recently planted Australia’s
first drought tolerant GM wheat trial and are well placed to do
the frost tolerant wheat project”.
MPBCRC CEO Dr Glenn Tong said that he was very pleased that his
organisation had been chosen to undertake this important
“We are delighted to be working so closely with grain growers on
this project. They came to us with a serious problem and we are
going to try to solve it for them using state of the art
“This has the potential to afford significant benefits to
growers not just in Australia but also around the world.”
“Frost is a highly intractable problem, with over 30 years of
traditional breeding not making much of a dent. We hope that
using gene technologies, we can make some significant headway in
this project,” Dr Tong said.
MPBCRC was formed in July 2003 under the Cooperative Research
Centres Program funded by the Commonwealth Government.
It aims to develop new technologies in molecular genetics and
molecular plant breeding and implement effective strategies for
their use in cereal and pasture improvement programs.
The technologies developed by MPBCRC are being commercialised
and delivered through the involvement of breeding organisations
and seed companies in Australia and around the world.
MPBCRC’s head office is at the newly established Victorian
AgriBiosciences Centre in Bundoora, Melbourne, and its 200
research staff are located at various participating
organisations in Melbourne, Adelaide, Horsham, Hamilton, Perth,
Lismore, Mexico and Syria.
The issuer of the prospectus and securities is Green Blueprint
International Ltd. The prospectus is available and can be
obtained at the following website:
This media release does not constitute an offer of securities
which will only be made in accordance with the prospectus.
Anyone wishing to acquire securities in Green Blueprint
International Ltd will need to consider the prospectus and then
complete the application form contained in the prospectus. For
further information please refer to the Media contacts below.