Swiss biotech giant Syngenta has said it plans to halt its genetically modified crop research operations in UK and move the research to the US.

Syngenta will move the research from Jealott's Hill, west of London, to North Carolina, leading to the loss of 130 jobs, reported Reuters. Jealott's Hill, which employs around 900 people, will focus on agrochemical research instead.

"We need to have the research and development work done in the marketplace where we can most effectively do business," spokesman Andrew Coker was quoted by Reuters as saying.

Genetically modified crops are not yet permitted for commercial cultivation in Europe, whereas they are widely used in the US.