APHIS deregulates a genetically engineered cotton variety
The Agriculture Department’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service announced the deregulation of a cotton variety genetically engineered by Texas A&M University to have ultra-low levels of gossypol in its seed.
Gossypol is a naturally occurring compound in the pigment of cotton plants that protects them from pests and diseases, APHIS said in a news release.
This variety maintains protective levels of gossypol in the plants, but the compound is significantly reduced in the seed, APHIS said. This benefits agriculture by lowering cottonseed oil refining costs, and potentially expands the use of cottonseed in the livestock and aquaculture feed industries, as well as for human food uses.
As part of the petition process, APHIS prepared a draft plant pest risk assessment and draft environmental assessment, and made these documents available for a 30-day public review and comment period on Aug. 1.
APHIS said it considered all of the public comments and conducted a thorough review of the potential environmental impacts in its final assessment pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act, reaching a finding of no significant impact.
APHIS concluded that this variety of GE cotton is unlikely to pose a plant pest risk to agricultural crops or other plants in the United States and is deregulating this variety of GE cotton.