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Scientists bid to create new GM crop

Scientists at work Photo:

A team of scientists at Rothamsted have been working on the Camelina plant - or false flax - for 15 years, modifying its genes to create a new variety which contains Omega 3 fish oils.

Scientists hope this could revolutionise the fish industry.

Farmed fish make up half the fish we eat and they have to be fed on Omega 3 oils - this is currently done by feeding them wild fish taken from the Oceans.

But scientists say feeding farmed fish oils made by the Camelina plant instead could dramatically reduce pressure on the Oceans dwindling fish stocks.

A look at the crop

If the government approves their trial, scientists here hope they will be able to move the crops from glasshouse to fields in a few months.

But the history of growing GM crops has been far from smooth, with protestors objecting that they could cross pollinate with wild plants to unknown affect.

One of the most famous protests took place in Norfolk 15 years ago, when Lord Melchett and other Greenpeace campaigners attacked a field of genetically modified maize.

A plot of GM barley grown at the John Innes Centre in Norwich was similarly destroyed by protestors in 2001.

But scientists here hope they can persuade people of the benefits of their work.

Omega 3 fish oils have many health benefits to humans such as protection against heart disease and are often taken as food supplements.