Spain has been the first country in the EU to cultivate GM plants on a commercial scale. Today, Spain is the EU member with the largest area of genetically modified plants.
The commercial cultivation in Spain began in 1998 with Bt maize line Bt176, which was banned in 2004 because it contained an ampicillin resistance gene. The cultivation of GM maize continued with another line, MON810. In 2008, GM maize was grown on 80,000 hectares, the largest acreage in the EU. The main regions for cultivation of GM maize are Aragon, Catalonia, and Albacete.
Field trials have been conducted mainly for wheat and barley, but in total there have been 405 deliberate releases of GM plants between 1999 and 2008. The experiments included alfalfa, beet, cantaloupe, cotton, eucalyptus, maize, melon, oilseed rape, plum, poplar, potato, soybean, strawberry, sugar beet, sunflower, orange tree, tobacco, tomato, and wheat.
Further information: EU Conference Coexistence, 4-6 April Vienna 2006: The Spanish experience with co-existence after eight years of cultivation of GM maize