World Rainforest Movement

Thailand – WRM information sheet on GE tree research

WRM information sheets on GE tree research

First posted: 18 August 2008
Last update: August 2014

Forest tree species being manipulated:

  • rubber tree (1)

Aim of genetic manipulation

  • allow callus growth recovery, with reduced browning and sustained GUS activity (rubber tree) (1)
  • higher latex production (2)

Those carrying out the research:

  • The Universities of Mahidol and Kasetsart (Thailand) , with CIRAD (France) leading the research. (1)
  • The French-Thai partnership was strengthened by the creation in 2008 of the ´Hevea Research Platform in Partnership’ (3)

Involvement of foreign research partners:

  • Besides CIRAD (Centre de coopération internationale en recherche agronomique pour le développement) – France , also the Institut Français du Caoutchouc. Another partner mentioned for future research is the Chinese Academy for Tropical Agricultural Sciences (CATAS, China). (1)

Those who provide support to research:

  • BIOTEC (see below)
  • Charoen Pokphand group (2)

Regulatory framework for research and field trials:

  • The main actor in Thailand’s Biosafety System is the National Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (BIOTEC), established in 1983. In 1991,  it was united with two other national centers under the National Science and Technology Agency (NSTDA). The government’s action through BIOTEC/NSTDA “will enhance not only the national R&D but also technology transfer and collaboration with the private sector with the aim of commercialization.” The National Biosafety Committee (NBC) was established in January 1993. The establishment of Institutional Biosafety Committees (IBCs) at various research institutes has been subsequently encouraged. As a result, many universities and government research institutes have established their own IBCs. The Thailand Biosafety Guidelines consist of two parts: The Guidelines for Laboratories, and The Guidelines for Field Trials. These documents are available in both Thai and English language versions. (4)
  • The management of field-testing is achieved through cooperation with various research institutes. The IBC is responsible for research work at its own institute, in consultation with the NBC. The NBC acts as the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives’ (MOAC) Technical Advisory Committee with BIOTEC as its secretariat. Applications for field-testing are sent to the Director General of the Department of Agriculture (DOA), MOAC, with a copy to the NBC. The NBC will, after careful consideration of the proposal, provide its recommendation to the DOA for final consideration and approval. (4)

Field trials:

  • unknown

Organizations opposing GE trees:

Sources:

  1. http://www.cirad.fr/en/publications-resources/science-for-all/rapports-annuels/cirad-2008/ecological-
    intensification/hevea-transgenesis-a-tool-for-gaining-insight-into-stress-response-mechanisms
  2. http://www.genet-info.org/information-services/genetically-engineered-trees/page/2.html
  3. http://hrpp.ku.ac.th/
  4. ftp://ftp.cgiar.org/isnar/ibs/thailand.pdf