Genetically modified seed products in China must initially undergo a five-stage approval process consisting of
Phase 1 – Laboratory research,
Phase 2 – Intermediate test,
Phase 3 – Environment release test,
Phase 4 – Production test,
Phase 5 – Receipt of the Bio-Safety Certificate from Ministry of Agriculture.
Currently, only domestic seed producers such as Origin Agritech
are allowed to proceed through all five phases, while international companies are restricted to Phase 1 only and thus never will get a certificate.
Origin’s genetically modified phytase corn was the first GM corn seed that passed all five phases of the GM approval process and received notification of Bio-Safety Certificate.
Origin has further incorporated phytase traits into two of its best-selling commercial corn hybrids.
Commercialization of these two corn hybrids is pending approval from the Chinese government. Two additional corn hybrids with GM phytase traits are undergoing variety production test.
Origin’s GM phytase-producing corn is expected to reduce the need for inorganic phosphate supplements as animals will directly absorb more phosphate from their feed, reducing animal feed’s high cost.
In addition to GM phytase corn, the company has been conducting research on other GM traits including herbicide tolerance, insect resistance, nitrogen efficiency, and drought stress tolerance traits in crop seeds.
Conventional hybrid corn seeds
In addition to GM crop seeds, Origin has a large R&D program developing conventional hybrid crop seeds. In China, new hybrid seed variety needs to go through an official approval process prior to sales.
This approval process typically involves three to four years of registration trials and normally proceeds according to the following sequential steps:
Pre-registration → Registration trial 1 → Registration trial 2 → Field demo → Approval
In 2012, a total of 64 hybrids were under various stages of registration process. As the result of multi-year trials, 3 corn hybrids have been approved in 2012.