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Four new GM cotton trials proposed

(Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2002 - CropChoice news) -- The Australian Gene Technology Regulator has received four applications from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) for licences to undertake limited and controlled releases of genetically modified cotton.

CSIRO proposes to trial GM cotton registered under the trade names Bollgard IIŽ and Bollgard IIŽ/Roundup ReadyŽ cotton on 20 sites in New South Wales and Queensland covering a total area of 42 hectares.

Bollgard IIŽ cotton produces two insecticidal proteins that are toxic to lepidopteran caterpillar pests that attack cotton.

Bollgard IIŽ/Roundup ReadyŽ cotton is also tolerant to glyphosate, the active constituent of the herbicide RoundupŽ. The cotton plants also contain antibiotic resistance genes.

A trial of GM LibertyŽ cotton is proposed for one site covering an area of 2 hectares. LibertyŽ cotton is tolerant to the herbicide glufosinate ammonium, the active constituent of the herbicides BastaŽ and LibertyŽ.

GM cotton lines containing a novel set of promoters from the sub-clover stunt virus, is proposed for 2 sites covering a total area of 1.5 hectares. The promoters are being used to drive the expression of an insecticidal reporter gene. The GM cotton also contains a gene which confers tolerance to the herbicide glufosinate ammonium.

Another trial proposes GM insecticidal cotton on 3 sites covering a total area of 3 hectares. The GM cotton contains a new insecticidal protein that is toxic to lepidopteran caterpillar pests that attack cotton. Some of the GM cotton lines also contain an antibiotic resistance gene.

Copies of the risk assessment and risk management plans, as well as summary information, can be obtained from the Office of the Gene Technology Regulator's website at http://www.ogtr.gov.au Submissions close 7 October 2002.