The Thai Department of Agriculture revealed that it believes US rice breeder Chris Deren when he says that the Khao Dok Mali 105 seeds he plans to use in a GM experiment on Thai jasmine rice were sourced from the Philippines-based International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), and not illegally smuggled out of Thailand.

Narongsak Senanarong, the department’s deputy director-general, told The Nation that the Thai government would not be taking any action to prevent the experiments going ahead at the University of Florida: “He stated it in his formal e-mail to us, so we must believe him […] however, we are waiting for confirmation from the IRRI.”

Allegations that Deren’s seeds were smuggled had come from environmentalists. Officials have also urged the government to seek the suspension of the US trials due to confusion over where the original seeds were sourced. A representative of IRRI’s Bangkok office, Boriboon Somrith, admitted to The Nation that he was confused about the information: “I am wondering, if Deren took the seeds from the IRRI as he said, why did the IRRI not inform Thailand as the owner of the genetic materials.”