Monsanto rolling out next generation genetically modified cotton product

Monsanto has begun marketing its third-generation genetically modified cotton product, claiming it will add extra protection against more species.

The company has added a new gene, or protein, to create and launch Bollgard 3, which comes two decades after the introduction of the first genetically modified cotton.

“There is much more significant control of army worms,” Monsanto North America Cotton and Canola Launch Lead Jon Riley told Crop Protection News. “It is all about providing the best possible benefits in high insect pressure situations, and less use of insecticide sprays.”

It also adds that extra protection against a variety of pest species, Riley said.

Bollgard 3, which is already used widely in Australia, has been planted in the U.S., on a limited new product evaluation basis, for approximately a month. A full launch of the product across the U.S. will occur in 2018, and it will be rolled out in to Mexico in the near future, Riley said.

Monsanto, the St. Louis-headquartered biotechnology giant, announced the commercialization of the product at last month’s Deltapine New Product Evaluator (NPE) Summit.

The adding of the extra protein, Vip3A, provides a third action in addition to the Cry1Ac and Cry2AbBt proteins found in Bollgard II, which was introduced in 2006.

First introduced in the U.S. in 1996, Bollgard was an in-seed cotton that protected against the cotton bollworm, tobacco budworm and pink bollworm.

The second-generation trait, introduced in 2006, provided protection against other cotton pests and tacked on the Roundup Ready Flex.

Apart from the extra protection, this third generation is marketed as extending the durability of Roundup Ready, the company said.

It is the first commercial cotton product with full federal approvals for the trait and in-crop herbicide system to combine three modes of action for both lepidopteran insect control and herbicide tolerance, the company added in a press release following the NPE summit.

The company also unveiled its Deltapine Class of 17 cotton varieties to more than 135 growers attending the summit who are participants in the NPE program. The NPE program provides cotton growers the opportunity to evaluate pre-commercial Deltapine variety candidates.

“This product has been highly anticipated by growers, and we are excited to bring Bollgard 3 XtendFlex technology to the marketplace,” Monsanto Cotton Team Lead Jessie Christiansen said. “This launch is the latest example of Monsanto’s continuing commitment to bringing new and innovative cotton products through our pipeline, offering new benefits and solutions to growers that feature elite germplasm and enhanced protection against key pests, including armyworms and bollworms, that will enable them to produce the best crop possible.”

Riley said Monsanto is already working on the fourth generation Bollgard product.


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