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Crop Biotech Update

USDA Approves GE Low-Gossypol Cotton

October 24, 2018

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced the deregulation of genetically engineered cotton with ultra-low levels of gossypol in its seed, which was developed by experts at Texas A&M University.

Gossypol is a natural compound present in the pigments of cotton plants which protects them from pests and diseases. Scientists at Texas A&M modified the cotton plant to produce protective levels of gossypol in various plant parts but reduced in the seed. Low gossypol in the seeds is beneficial for agriculture because it reduces the refining cost of cottonseed oil and expands the application of cottonseed in the livestock and aquaculture feed industries.

After considering all the public comments about the draft plant pest risk assessment (PPRA) and draft environmental assessment (EA) of the GE cotton, APHIS conducted a thorough review of the potential environmental impacts in its final EA pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act, and reached a finding of no significant impact (FONSI).

APHIS concluded in its final PPRA that the GE cotton is unlikely to pose a plant pest risk to agricultural crops or other plants in the US and is deregulating this variety of GE cotton effective on October 17, 2018.

Read the media release from APHIS and Texas A&M AgriLife Today.