GM Amflora starch potato approved in EU
    The European Union today approved the first new genetically modified (GM) crop for domestic growing in more than a decade, ending what has been a long stalemate over a backlog of GM crops awaiting cultivation approval.
    The decision by the European Commission, the E.U.'s executive arm, will allow farmers to grow Amflora potatoes, a controversial GM crop developed by the German chemical giant BASF. The potatoes can be used solely for industrial or animal feed purposes, the bloc said.

    The Amflora potatoes were the first GM crop to win approval because there is a demand for them in several European countries, industry sources said. The potato will be planted in Germany and the Czech Republic this year, with additional plantings likely to come in Sweden and the Netherlands, the European Union said.

    The potatoes have been criticized by health officials and environmental groups not for their primary genetic modification, which silences a protein expression, but for their use of antibiotic-resistance genes as markers -- genetic signposts that are needed to easily evaluate whether the silencing techniques have been successful.

    Additional resources:

    BASF News release (includes history of application)

    Q &A European Commission on GMO and Amflora approval

    PotatoPro Newsletter: History and Future of GM Potatoes