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Morphinefree Mutant Poppies: Novel plants make pharmaceutical starter

A Tasmanian company has developed a poppy that produces a commercially useful drug precursor instead of full-fledged morphine, and an international research team has now reported how the plant does it.

The top1 mutant of the opium poppy (Papaver somniferum) came out of a company research effort in 1995, but scientists haven't previously published studies of this mutant, says Philip Larkin of the plant-industry section, in Canberra, of CSIRO, Australia's federally funded research agency.

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