USDA Looks to Approve Monsanto’s Drought-Tolerant Corn

The Obama administration will seek to allow the unlimited sale of a corn variety genetically engineered by Monsanto Co. to resist drought, the Department of Agriculture announced today. The corn, if approved, would be the first commercial biotech crop designed to resist stressful environmental conditions like drought, rather than pests or herbicides.

Given the slight improvements made by the corn, the agency does not project that approving the variety would cause an increase in corn cultivation. Last year, U.S. farmers planted some 86.4 million acres of corn, 86 percent of which was genetically engineered to grant resistance to insects and weedkillers.

It remains to be seen how effective Monsanto’s corn will be if widely employed. However, the company did make notable ground in engineering this resistance with a single gene, discovered in soil bacteria strains exposed to harsh, cold conditions. Further work found that the cspB gene, as it’s known, codes for proteins that assist RNA, the genome’s messengers, in their work.

Monsanto developed the corn in collaboration with the German chemical firm BASF.

>> NYT

>> USDA Federal Register PDF

Phantom Report: Drought-Tolerant Corn approval = the eventually approval of Monsanto’s terminator seed. Monsanto corporate food dominance = slave population. Related: New BASF CEO Wants To Promote Green Genetic Engineering

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