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Research Tolerance to herbicides, ageing processes, resistance to fungi and insects
Field trials EU 8
USA 79, Japan
Approval none
Perspectives At present no commercial utilisation of GM lettuce is expected.



Several types of lettuce including butterhead, iceberg and cos lettuces belong to the Lactuca sativa. This type of lettuce grows worldwide in regions with moderate climate and need a lot of water and light. The main producing areas in the EU are in Spain, Italy and France; worldwide the main lettuce producers are China and the USA.

Endive, lamb's lettuce, chicory and radicchio belong to other types of lettuce.



Lettuce is mainly consumed raw.


Gene technology: aims of research and development

Agronomic traits

Weed control

Resistance to pathogens

Resistance to pests

Plant development

  • The formation of certain substances that trigger the ageing process is suppressed to prevent the lettuce turning brown.

  • Increased yields

  • male sterility

Product traits

Modified composition of components

  • Reduction of nitrate levels

Enrichment with health-promoting ingredients such as

  • Iron

  • Vitamin E, inulin

Renewable primary products

Production of active pharmaceutical agents

  • Molecular pharming: utilisation of gene-modified lettuce plants as a system to produce medicinal drug ingredients such as insulin; until now this has only been for experimental research.


Field trials with GM lettuce

Applications 8
Countries France 7, Italy 1
Period 1995-2000
Traits Reduction of nitrate levels, virus resistance, modified leaf form
USA 79
Period 1992-2005
other countries Japan


 GMO Database
GM Food and Feed: Authorization in the EU
GMO Database: Contains information on every GM plant that has been approved or is awaiting authorisation in the EU.
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