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Approval of a new GM soybean in Brazil

(25 August 2010) The Brazilian commission for biosafety (CTNBio) approved two new versions of GM soybean for commercial cultivation. One, Bt Roundup Ready 2 Yield, is the first insect-resistant GM soybean and the first GM crop that Monsanto specifically developed for a market outside the US.

The US company’s RoundupReady soybeans are resistant to herbicides containing the active agent glyphosate. Additionally, the new soybean variety, which was approved by CTNBio on August 19, is resistant to insect pests. The soy plants produce a substance called Bt protein that specifically targets a certain group of insects. The gene encoding for the Bt protein is also used in GM cotton plants. Bt cotton is widely grown in the US, India and China. According to Monsanto, the Bt protein is also effective against insects causing massive damage to soy plantations in Brazil.

The cultivation of Bt Roundup Ready 2 Yield soybeans will presumably begin in two to five years from now. First of all, soy producers in Brazil are probably waiting for the approval of the soybeans as food and feed on the most important export markets. The respective application for approval in the EU was submitted in 2009.

Brazil is the second biggest soybean producer in the world after the US. Two thirds of Brazilian soybeans are genetically modified. Until the beginning of 2010, all GM soybean seed was exclusively obtained from Monsanto. In February, CTNBio also released BASF's cultivance soybeans for commercial cultivation; these GM soybeans are resistant to imidazoline herbicides.


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