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Corn+Soybean Digest

New Bt Trait Launched By Pioneer, Mycogen


A new class of Bt corn hybrids resulting from a research collaboration between Dow AgroSciences and Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc has been announced. Known as Herculex I, the new Bt line provides enhanced resistance against European and southwestern corn borer, black cutworm and fall armyworm. The Bt trait product also provides tolerance to Liberty1 herbicide, which controls more than 100 grass and broadleaf weeds on contact.

Herculex I, which expresses the Cry1F Bt trait, has been granted full food and feed registration within the U.S. by the Environmental Protection Agency, the United States Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration.

The registrants are moving ahead with approval in Canada and overseas markets, such as Japan. Until import approvals in those markets are granted, U.S. corn from Herculex I hybrids will be subject to market-channeling and export restrictions.

Neither Mycogen Seeds, an affiliate of Dow AgroSciences, or Pioneer will be offering this product for sale in the 2001 growing season. They expect the product will be commercially available by the 2002 growing season.

"The advantages Herculex I brings to growers include enhanced insect protection, handler safety and convenience, and availability in elite corn hybrids," says Tom Wiltrout, global business leader for corn at Dow AgroSciences. "We are excited to announce this new product and the benefits that it will provide our customers."

While the companies pooled their talents to research, develop and seek regulatory approval for the new technology, they will continue independently market and sell their own corn hybrids on a competitive basis. Additionally, Dow AgroSciences will, in the future, license the technology to other seed companies.

As part of this collaboration, additional insect protection traits are being developed for other corn pests. The first of these, targeted at corn rootworm, will be launched after completion of research evaluations and regulatory approvals.

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