It’s a little hard to believe, but that’s what the researchers at the University of Cambridge have done.
The team has grown a potato in a lab.
It’s not a single potato.
Rather, they’ve grown a variety of potatoes, all of which have been genetically modified to be resistant to the deadly fungus Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt).
They have grown the genetically modified potato in the lab, but then the scientists transferred them into a petri dish, where they grew them.
The potatoes were then placed into a test tube.
The researchers found that the potato grew a foot of fresh plant material in three weeks.
So they say that if you can grow a potato, you can certainly grow a plant.
There are some caveats to this, though.
“It’s not the only way to grow potatoes in the laboratory,” says co-author Professor Nick Stroud, a plant geneticist at the Centre for Molecular Genetics at the university.
“You could grow a tomato or an eggplant in a dish.
What’s more, the researchers warn, if you don’t want to plant a potato into a dish, there are other ways. “
But you can’t really say it’s the most effective way to do it, as there’s some potential for cross-pollination.”
What’s more, the researchers warn, if you don’t want to plant a potato into a dish, there are other ways.
For example, you could plant a carrot into the dish instead of a potato.
“If you have a potato that you’ve got to eat, you’re better off taking a carrot instead of eating it,” says Stroud.
And, as with any genetic modification, you might need to be careful not to introduce the harmful fungus to your plant.
“So it’s not like you can plant a whole potato in your dish,” says the Cambridge team.
“And if you do, the risk of cross-contamination is high.”
You can see the new findings in the new issue of Nature Genetics.
What is Bacillus Thuringiensiditis?
Bt is a plant-killing fungus that’s found in many crops, and the scientists found that this variant of the potato could be resistant.
What’s interesting about this, says Stoughton, is that the Bt strain can be found in all sorts of plants.
For instance, there’s one strain of Bt corn, and another that is found in potatoes, and some strains of B. thuringienus that can be grown in rice and wheat.
The Cambridge team says it’s possible to use this to develop a wide range of crops that are resistant to Bacillus.
But there are a number of challenges to this.
The first is the fact that Bt plants are generally resistant to diseases, so they’ll generally be less resistant to pests than other crops.
“In terms of pests, you would want to grow it in the garden, so you don`t have to worry about pests,” says Dr Chris D’Arcy, a molecular geneticist and the paper’s senior author.
“The other thing is that it doesn’t spread very well through soil, so there’s not much of a chance that it would spread to other plants.
“That means you would need to fertilise it. “
Bacillus can spread easily through the soil,” says D’Arthur.
“That means you would need to fertilise it.
You’d need to put it on a large scale and then you would have to manage the pests so it doesn�t spread.”
So it’s a tricky strategy, but there are ways to deal with pests, says Danssart.
The other issue is that in the US, you have to plant the genetically engineered potato in an approved pesticide-free area.
“There are some areas that require it,” D’Artary says.
“When you do that, you’d want to fertilize it, and then it’s probably not going to be a good idea to plant it in a pesticide-saturated area.”
But in Australia, D’Alcy says, there is an approval process.
So if you grow the genetically altered potato in Australia and you use the pesticide-tolerant pesticide that’s approved for Australia, you shouldn’t have any problems.
“All you have is the approval process,” he says.
So it sounds like Australia has a relatively clear approach to Bt resistant crops, says Prof Alan Dyson, a genetics professor at the Institute of Food Technologists.
“Australia is an ideal place for it,” he tells New Scientist.
“Because there are not any pests.”
Is this technology going to get adopted?
There are a few obstacles to the development of a Bt-resistant crop, says Andrew Fenton, an agricultural economist at the Australian National University.
First, he says, it will be a huge investment.
The cost of producing a crop resistant to B. turingiensidis is about $1,000 per hectare, he explains.
“Any time you