Scientists are using GM technology in a bid to save papayas from the ringspot virus that is threatening to wipe out the fruit altogether in Thailand.

A team from Bangkok's Mahidol University is currently working on developing a genetically modified variety of the papaya that is immune to the disease. Sunee Kertbundit, assistant professor at the university and leader of the research team , is concerned however that opposition to GM foods and government restrictions might undermine the project.

"This is the last chance for the papaya in Thailand. Without this technology the fruit will die out," she said, adding: "I understand the concerns of environmental organisations but research has been and will continue to be thorough. Greenpeace International has been involved and it has also been supervised by the National Biosafety Committee."

If the field trials of the GM papaya are successful, seeds will be distributed to farmers throughout Thailand.