Peppermint gene inserted into the DNA of wheat strain in attempt to produce crop that emits pheromone odour signalsA peppermint gene has been used to engineer a wheat strain that sends out chemical messages to scare off aphid pests.In future, it may be possible to cut the use of pesticides on plants modified with the gene.The genetic modification harnesses one of the plant world's own defence mechanisms, the ability to ward off pests with pheromone odour signals.Peppermint produces a smell, undetectable to humans, which mimics an alarm signal generated by aphids when they are attacked by predators.This helps deter the insects, which suck sugar out of plants and cause global crop damage costing billions of pounds each year.The British scientists took the peppermint gene responsible and inserted it into the DNA of a spring wheat strain.Eight test plots of the wheat, measuring six metres square, are now growing at the...
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