November 5, 2008

US biotechnology firms currently aiming for enhanced GM corn


US-based Dow AgriSciences and Monsanto are now eyeing markets for more potent and pest-resistant GM corn after having successfully marketed the Bacillus Thuringiensis (BT) corn since 2003.


BT corn has the sole trait of being Asiatic corn-borer resistant.


Before even setting foot in other Asian countries, biotechnology companies have already seen opportunities in starting out in the Philippines as it is internationally recognised for having a more established regulatory policy on biotechnology.


In 2005, Dow AgroSciences started its field testing of the 'TC 1507', and branded Herculex in the US, it is said to have achieved a good yield advantage of 99.7 percent over non-Bt corn and other than being corn borer-resistant, also prevents corn infestation from lepidopterans such as catworms and earworms.


Two seasons of field testing have been completed, and Dow AgriSciences is hoping for approval to release it next year.


However, they did not claim resistance to other pests yet, saying that they have yet to resolve with the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) regarding data interpretation.


Meanwhile, Monsanto has also started testing of a multiple-gene GM corn this year, called Mon89, and will be completing its first season field trial this November.

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