If you see a member of an endangered species eating an endangered plant, what do you do?
That’s an environmental conundrum and here’s another: what if genetic modification could reduce globbal warming?
AgResearch is seeking approval for trials of transgenic grasses which it thinks could reduce greenhouse emissions.
AgResearch’s applied biotechnologies manager, Jimmy Suttie, said the transgenic grasses had both environmental and productivity advantages.
The grasses were high in energy, which meant fewer animals were needed to get the same production, reducing the amount of methane released.
The science behind the forage meant digestion of the plant was more efficient, cutting the amount of methane produced by animals and increasing energy that went into tissue and productivity.
But Dr Suttie said the technology also had implications for further research to cut methane emissions and reduce the volume of water required by the plants.
A lot of people who oppose oppose genetic modification also support radical efforts to reduce greenhouse gases.
Would they be prepared to relax their opposition to genetic modification if it could be part of the solution to global warming?
GW or GM? Some see both as threats but GM also provides opportunities.