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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted at 3:09 p.m., Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Senate panel approves bill banning GM taro testing

Advertiser Staff

State lawmakers this week pushed forward a bill that would ban testing and growing of genetically modified taro for a period of 10 years.

Senate Bill 958 was passed Monday by the Water, Land, Agriculture, and Hawaiian Affairs Committee by a 3-1 vote. State lawmakers debated similar legislation last year, but failed to pass any law banning such research.

Concern about taro stems from research by the University of Hawai'i into genetically modified taro - or kalo, in the Hawaiian language. The university has since voluntarily suspended work on genetically engineered Hawaiian taro. However, UH continues to conduct research on genetically modified Chinese Bun Long taro. That project involves inserting genes from grapevine and wheat into Chinese taro to improve fungal disease resistance.