16 April, 2003
Monsanto has given an insight into new transgenic traits being investigated for cotton. p. ___Mark Oppenhuizen, research manager for Monsanto’s cotton transgenic programs in St Louis, said the focus is on improving insect protection, stress and drought tolerance, and also yield and fibre quality_.
Speaking on the CSD Web on Wednesday video on the CSD website (9/03/03), Mr Oppenhuizen confirmed that the company was not prepared to sit on its laurels.
“We are continuing to work on additional lepidopteron control, looking at high expression throughout the growing season, and also looking at some of the other pests that get into cotton such as mirids, jassids and lygus species as well,” he said.
He acknowledged that the new Roundup Ready® Flex would provide a substantial improvement on the current commercial Roundup Ready®, and said Monsanto was moving towards removing the four-leaf stage application limitation.
“We have got plants which look like they are almost completely tolerant throughout the full season. We are still developing the data to show how tolerant those can be, but we are having extremely promising results.
“We have been able to put late applications all the way through first flower and later, with no problems whatsoever in terms of its reproductive tolerance.”
He said this technology was relatively simple in terms of transgenics, in that only one gene insertion was required in order to meet the objective, but improving traits such as yield and fibre quality were more complicated because they are usually multi-gene changes.
“We have a couple of approaches that we are looking at, and we are seeing some initial success. It is going to take a little more work, but it is certainly an area that we are very interested in.
“Stress tolerance is something else that we are looking at, and drought tolerance. We have a program in those and in the long term we hope that we get something out there that addresses these questions,” Mr Oppenhuizen said.
Pictured: Mark Oppenhuizen, research manager for Monsanto’s transgenic cotton program, headquartered at St Louis in the USA.
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