Multinationals Eye More Potent Bt Corn Seed

Article excerpt

Multinational seed firms Dow AgroSciences and Monsanto are looking into the local commercialization of multiple benefit and 'second generation' genetically modified (GM) corn.

Having successfully marketed since 2003 the Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) corn that had a sole trait of being Asiatic corn borer-resistant, US-based biotechnology companies now eye markets for the GM corn that is more potent and resists broad types of pests.

Dow AgroSciences started in 2005 in its field testing of the "TC 1507," branded Herculex in the US.

"We already completed two seasons of field testing. Hopefully it will be approved for release next year," said Antipas R. Criador IV, regulatory and field research and development head of Dow AgroSciences, in an interview.

Monsanto also started this year testing a multiple-gene GM corn that it considers to belong to a second generation of GM corn. The first generation corn only has one gene.

"The second generation Bt corn Monsanto is developing has three genes," said an industry official.

If a corn plant has only one gene against borer resistance, the pest may develop resistance to this GM corn plant over a shorter period of time. But with the GM plant that has three genes, pests may find it more difficult to develop resistance to this GM plant.

Monsanto is completing this November its first season field trial on what is called the Mon89. …