Page last updated at 05:33 GMT, Wednesday, 19 August 2009 06:33 UK

Plant boost to malaria fight

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Field trials are set to begin for a medicinal plant bred to help combat malaria.

Artemisia annua contains the anti-malarial drug artemisinin, but only in low levels.

So researchers at the Centre for Novel Agricultural Products (CNAP) at York University, UK, have been using fast-track breeding methods to create a plant that contains much higher levels of the compound.

The non-GM, artemisinin-packed plant is now being dispatched to Africa, India and China for trials.

Professor Ian Graham explains techniques that were used to breed the plant far more quickly than traditional methods would have allowed.

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