Despite ongoing market resistance to use of the technology in the food chain and in key export markets, Pastoral Genomics and AgResearch are each committing tens of millions of dollars – half or more contributed by government grants – to bringing GM forage grasses to market. PGG Wrightson is also tracking this target but is underwritten more by Australian state funding.

The marketing strategy developers hope will see a GM renaissance rests on a new type of GM being used to generate the pasture varieties.

Cisgenics is GM but does not mix unrelated species, developers say. Instead plants are engineered using genes native to that species.

This modified GM is to be offered to consumers as an olive branch: developers say they have learnt from the markets and have realigned their GM research directions so that the species barrier is left intact.

Yet the language they are using to sell the concept of cisgenics to consumers suggests that the claimed reform of the GM research agendas is superficial.

Read the report: Semantically Engineered Grasses