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Australia, New Zealand approve sale and use of Argentine GMO wheat

BUENOS AIRES, May 6 (Reuters) - Australia and New Zealand have approved the sale and use of foods that contain so-called HB4 wheat, a genetically modified (GMO) variety developed by Argentine firm Bioceres to withstand droughts and herbicides, the firm said on Friday.

Argentina, one of the world's largest wheat exporters, was the first country to approve GMO wheat in 2020, followed by Brazil in 2021, a trend that could continue if global supply is further constrained by Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

"Today we are happy to announce that Australia has approved HB4® Wheat, tolerant to water stress. This is a huge step forward," Bioceres said on Twitter.

The South American nation produced a record 21.8 million tonnes of wheat in the 2021/22 season, although a slight decrease in output is expected during the next season due to unfavorable weather.

Argentina, also a leading exporter of soybeans and corn, has pioneered the use of GMO grains for those crops.

So-called GMO or transgenic crops include genetic modifications created by adding genes from unrelated species. (Reporting by Nicolas Misculin; Writing by Carolina Pulice; Editing by Anthony Esposito and Sandra Maler)

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