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Crop Biotech Update

USDA-APHIS Releases Assessment Documents of GE Low Gossypol Cotton for Public Comment

August 1, 2018

The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS) released the draft Environmental Assessment (dEA) and draft Plant Pest Risk Assessment (dPRA) of genetically engineered (GE) cotton with ultra-low levels of gossypol in the seed (event TAM66274). The documents were made available for public comment to be considered for potential deregulation of the GE cotton variety.

Gossypol is a naturally produced compound in the pigment of cotton, which protects the plant from pests and diseases. The GE cotton under public comment has protective levels of gossypol in the plant parts except in the seed, where there is lower gossypol content. Cottonseed meal, a byproduct of cotton used in food and feed, is not widely used because high concentrations of gossypol are potentially toxic. Thus, once the GE cotton with ultra-low levels of gossypol becomes deregulated, cottonseed meal can be used more readily.

The notice on the public comment is posted in the Federal Register. Comments on the dEA and dPRA may be submitted until August 31, 2018 at Regulations.gov.