Biotech Updates

APHIS Grants Approval to Bioengineered Hemp and Other Crops

April 10, 2024

The US Department of Agriculture announced the approval of bioengineered hemp with boosted levels of medicinal ingredients and reduced psychoactive ingredients. The review of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) concluded that the improved hemp is unlikely to cause increased plant pest risk compared to other cultivated plants.

The bioengineered hemp, known as Badger G, was developed by scientists from the Wisconsin Crop Innovation Center at the University of Wisconsin. Badger G has increased concentrations of cannabigerol (CBG), a cannabinoid that is not widely regulated and shows therapeutic properties. It has been linked to showing medicinal benefits related to glaucoma, inflammatory bowel disease, and Huntington's disease. CBG is also one of the hemp compounds that is more expensive to produce compared to other cannabinoids. Aside from the CBG modification, the researchers used genetic knockout to prevent the plant from producing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).

USDA-APHIS also granted approvals to other bioengineered crops, including two camelinas modified for improved seed oil quality, canola modified for herbicide resistance, canola and brown mustard modified for improved product quality and herbicide resistance, soybean modified for altered product quality, and potato modified for fungal resistance.

Read more from APHIS and BIO.

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