Biotech Updates

OGTR Seeks Comment on Commercial Release of GM Cotton

September 11, 2009

Dow AgroSciences Australia Ltd has submitted an application to the Office of Gene Technology Regulator (OGTR) for the commercial release of a genetically modified, insect-resistant cotton variety. The cotton, better known by its commercial name Widestrike, contains the Cry1F and Cry1Ac genes from the soil bacterium B. thuringiensis. These genes provide resistance to a range of major lepidopteran caterpillar pests. Widestrike cotton has been approved for cultivation in the United States and Brazil and for food and feed use in Japan, Korea and Mexico. The oil and cotton linters derived from this GM cotton have been also approved by Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) for use in human food in 2005. If approved Widestrike can be grown in all cotton growing areas of Australia south of latitude 22o South.

OGTR has prepared a consultation Risk Assessment and Risk Management Plan (RARMP) which concludes that the proposed release "would pose negligible to low risk to human health and safety or to the environment." OGTR now seeks comment on the RARMP.

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