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Weekly roundup 11/11/2016

Rothamsted Research believes its GM wheat will produce higher yields.

11 Nov 2016

In the news this week:

Researchers have applied for a licence to carry out a trial of a genetically modified wheat crop in a small field in Hertfordshire, UK. The wheat has an improved efficiency in photosynthesis, which the team believes will increase the yield. Approval could be granted by the end of January 2017 and the first crops could be planted next spring at Rothamsted Research. Previous GM trials have been disrupted by protestors but Professor Christine Raines, head of the school of biological sciences at the University of Essex, who is involved with the proposed wheat trial believes there is now less opposition. Read more about the trial application here.


More than 200 species of fish, marine mammals, sea turtles, and seabirds are known to ingest plastic at sea, and there is an increasingly large amount available for them to nibble on. In ocean ecosystems, a sulphurous compound called dimethyl sulphide (DMS) surrounds animals like krill. Seabirds love to eat krill and follow the smell of DMS to find food. A new study from the University of California, Davis, shows that marine plastics produce a DMS smell of their own, confusing birds. Read more about the study here.


Liberty Steel will invest in a recycled steel operation at its rolling mill plant in Newport within the next two years, creating 600 jobs. As part of its ‘green steel’ strategy, Liberty plans to use assets from a former steelworks at Sherness Docks and could fuel the arc furnace operation on biomass power created by the adjoining Uskmouth Power, which is owned by Liberty's sister company Simec. Read more about the steel group’s plans here.


The results of the US presidential election have generated news and comment pieces around the world. Questions have been raised about what actions President-elect Donald Trump might take in policy areas such as climate change action, science, and business but there are not yet clear answers. BBC news has an article that covers the available information here.

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