SCIENTISTS have been given permission to grow genetically-modified plants which could help protect against heart disease.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has given the go-ahead for the trial which would see omega-3 fatty acids, usually found in fish, added to a crop of camelina plants.

It is reportedly the first ever field trial of nutrient-enriched crops in the UK.

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Scientists at Rothamsted Research Centre in Hertfordshire who will run the trial hailed the decision as a "significant milestone" for research into genetically-modified plants.

Researchers spent 10 years designing a sustainable way to produce the oil before successfully growing the engineered plants in lab conditions.