Biotech Updates

Limited Release of GM Cotton

May 2, 2008

Australia’s Office of the Gene Technology Regulator (OGTR) has received a license application for the limited release of a genetically modified (GM) cotton line into the environment. OGTR received the application from the country’s Commonwealth Scientific and Research Organization (CSIRO). If approved, the release will take place in Narrabri, New South Wales, on a maximum area of 2 ha between October 2008 and June 2009. The transgenic line, also called MonoCott cotton, has been modified to improve the cotton seed oil properties for food use. It contains partial sequences of three cotton genes. Expression of these sequences is expected to silence corresponding genes in the parent plant resulting to altered fatty acid composition of cotton seeds. The cotton line also contains the antibiotic marker gene nptII. OGTR has prepared a Risk Assessment and Risk Management Plan which concludes that the release would not pose a significant risk to human health and safety to the environment.

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