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2-Plants: Monsanto's Rootworm-protected Bt maize approved

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                                  PART I
-------------------------------- GENET-news --------------------------------

TITLE:  Monsanto's Rootworm-Protected Biotech Corn Receives Final
        Regulatory Clearance
SOURCE: Monsanto, USA
DATE:   Feb 25, 2003

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Monsanto's Rootworm-Protected Biotech Corn Receives Final Regulatory Clearance

Available for 2003 planting, YieldGard Rootworm corn promises better
protection and reduced insecticide use for U.S. farmers battling the
'billion-dollar bug'.

ST. LOUIS (Feb. 25, 2003) - Monsanto Company today announced it received
a registration from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for
its new YieldGard Rootworm insect-protected corn technology - allowing
commercialization of the first biotech corn designed to control the corn
rootworm pest for the 2003 planting season.

The EPA granted Monsanto a commercial registration for YieldGard Rootworm
corn, completing the Agency's comprehensive environmental safety
assessment. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Food and Drug
Administration completed their reviews of YieldGard Rootworm corn previously.

"This is another milestone in the continued growth of plant
biotechnology," said Robert T. Fraley, Ph.D., chief technology officer
for Monsanto. "The fact that this technology continues to grow is a
testament to the benefits of plant biotechnology and to the promise of
products like YieldGard Rootworm corn."

YieldGard Rootworm corn contains a protein from Bacillus thuringiensis
(Bt), a common soil microbe that specifically targets corn rootworm
larvae, allowing the corn plant to naturally protect its roots against
the damaging corn rootworm. The corn rootworm has earned the nickname the
"billion-dollar bug" as the USDA estimates that this pest causes $1
billion in lost revenue annually to the U.S. corn crop.

"With the protection built into the seed, YieldGard Rootworm corn
controls a damaging corn pest while significantly reducing the amount of
insecticide that has to be used to protect the crop," said Fraley. "More
insecticides are used to fight corn rootworm than any other pest in corn
- which is the crop grown on the largest number of acres in the United

Growers are very interested in the benefits offered by this new biotech
approach to controlling corn rootworm.

"In the past, we've had to spray up to three insecticides in a single
growing season to control this pest. So, we are very excited about having
the type of technology that can have this rootworm resistance built
within the plant itself," says Kevin Penny, a corn grower from
Burlington, Colorado.

YieldGard Rootworm Corn To Be Commercialized for 2003 Planting

With regulatory reviews complete in both the United States and Japan - a
key export market for U.S. corn growers - Monsanto is the first company
to commercialize a biotechnology product designed to combat the corn rootworm.

For 2003, the YieldGard Rootworm trait will be available in corn hybrids
sold through Monsanto's branded seed businesses - DEKALB and Asgrow - as
well as through licensed, independent seed companies.

"The registration of YieldGard Rootworm corn is great news for the
hundreds of seed companies and tens of thousands of U.S. farmers who are
seeing the benefits of biotech products," said Jennifer Ozimkiewicz,
marketing manager for Monsanto's corn traits. "Research shows YieldGard
Rootworm corn offers significant benefits to corn growers, including
superior control of the corn rootworm, reduced exposure to insecticides
and more convenience at planting."

Research conducted at academic field trial locations during the past
three years has shown that YieldGard Rootworm corn was more consistent in
controlling rootworm damage than the best performing insecticide.

YieldGard Rootworm corn joins Monsanto's "YieldGard" family of insect-
control products for corn, which also includes YieldGard Corn Borer corn.
Monsanto also plans to sell a stacked-version of the two insect-
protection traits, called YieldGard Plus corn once EPA review is
completed and registration is obtained. Additionally, Monsanto will offer
stacked combinations of the products with Monsanto's Roundup Ready trait
for weed control in the near future.

Regulatory Review Affirms Product Safety and Sets Stewardship Requirements

The EPA's decision completes an extensive assessment process for
YieldGard Rootworm corn that included evaluation of the numerous safety
studies conducted on the product, examination of commercial-level
environmental impacts and an assessment of stewardship practices,
including insect resistance management.

In granting the registration for YieldGard Rootworm corn, EPA determined
it posed no adverse human health or environmental safety concerns.

An important part of insect-protected corn product stewardship is the use
of insect resistance management (IRM) practices to delay the potential
development of resistance by target pests. IRM plans are designed to keep
these insect pests from developing resistance to the technology, so that
it will remain an effective pest control tool.

As a part of the registration, EPA requires an IRM program similar to
those already in use for earlier Bt products such as YieldGard Corn Borer
corn. For YieldGard Rootworm corn, the EPA requires growers to plant a 20
percent refuge of non-YieldGard Rootworm corn adjacent to or within the
YieldGard Rootworm cornfield.

Monsanto worked for more than four years in collaboration with university
and government scientists, the nation's leading corn rootworm experts - a
committee of scientists called "NCR-46"- in developing the IRM plan for
YieldGard Rootworm corn.

About Monsanto

Monsanto Company (NYSE: MON) is a leading global provider of technology-
based solutions and agricultural products that improve farm productivity
and food quality. For more information on Monsanto, see:

For more information about corn rootworm and Monsanto's YieldGard
Rootworm corn, please see the backgrounder "Background on the Corn Rootworm."

Note to Editors: YieldGard and Roundup Ready are registered trademarks
owned by Monsanto or its wholly-owned subsidiaries.

                                  PART II
-------------------------------- GENET-news --------------------------------

SOURCE: Environmental Protecion Agency, USA, Headquarters Press Release
DATE:   Feb 25, 2003

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Non-Chemical Alternative To Conventional Insecticides For Control Of Corn

CONTACT: David Deegan, 202-564-7839

After an intensive, multi-year scientific analysis, EPA has approved the
use of a new plant-incorporated protectant designed to control corn
rootworm, a widespread and destructive insect in the United States. This
new product will provide corn growers with a safe, non-chemical pest
control alternative that can reduce reliance on traditional insecticides.
The reduced pesticide use will benefit the environment directly and can
mean less exposure to people who apply chemical pesticides to corn.

"EPA has put this new product through a rigorous, science-based review
process, including extensive public comment and independent scientific
peer review, to ensure that it is safe for human health and the
environment," commented Stephen L. Johnson, EPA's Assistant Administrator
for Prevention, Pesticides, and Toxic Substances. "This new variety of
corn pest control holds great promise for reducing reliance on
conventional insecticides now used on millions of acres of corn in the
U.S." continued Johnson.

The new corn pest control, referred to as "MON 863" and developed by
Monsanto, produces its own insecticide within the plant derived from
Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), a naturally occurring soil bacterium. The Bt
protein, called Cry3Bb1, controls corn rootworm, a highly destructive
pest responsible for the single largest use of conventional insecticides
in the United States. At roughly 80 million planted acres, corn is the
largest crop grown in the United States. Use of the new pest-control tool
is expected to result in major reductions in the use of numerous
conventional insecticides. Many of the older alternative insecticides
belong to the organophosphate and carbamate chemical classes which have
been the subject of increased EPA analysis and regulatory restrictions
since passage of the Food Quality Protection Act of 1996.

In order to reduce the possibility of corn rootworm developing resistance
to Bt, EPA is requiring Monsanto to ensure that 20 percent of the planted
acreage of this product be set aside where non-Bt corn will be grown to
serve as a "refuge." These refuge areas will support populations of corn
rootworm not exposed to the Bt bacterium. The insect populations in the
refuges will help prevent resistance development when they cross-breed
with insects in the Bt fields. This resistance management strategy was
developed as a condition of the registration, and EPA will require
routine monitoring and documentation that these measures are followed.
EPA is also requiring Monsanto to conduct additional research on corn
rootworm to ensure that optimal long-term resistance management practices
are maintained.

Today's action is based on a thorough and comprehensive scientific and
regulatory evaluation by EPA. It also builds upon a multi-year
reassessment performed by the Agency on all currently available Bt plant-
incorporated protectants regulated by EPA which was completed in October
2001. As with all similar products, EPA has approved MON 863 for time-
limited use which will be subject to reevaluation in several years. For
more information on EPA's regulation of these products, see: http://

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                                  PART III
-------------------------------- GENET-news --------------------------------

TITLE:  E.P.A. Approves the Use of Monsanto's Altered Corn
SOURCE: The New York Times, USA, by Andrew Pollack
DATE:   Feb 26, 2003

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E.P.A. Approves the Use of Monsanto's Altered Corn

The government announced yesterday that it had approved a type of
genetically modified corn that it says could lead to a significant
reduction in the use of toxic insecticides.

The approval was granted by the Environmental Protection Agency to a corn
developed by Monsanto that is resistant to the corn rootworm. This soil-
dwelling pest accounted for one out of seven applications of insecticide
to all agricultural crops, according to the E.P.A. The resistant corn
would require little or no chemicals.

"Corn rootworm is the pest that requires the single largest use of
conventional pesticides in the United States," said Stephen L. Johnson,
the E.P.A.'s assistant administrator for prevention, pesticides and toxic
substances. "From an environmental and human health perspective, this
product replaces some very significant problematic, or potentially
problematic, chemicals."

The approval is a boost for Monsanto, which has been struggling with
falling earnings, and for biotechnology crops, because it is the first
truly new product in some years. Until now the industry has subsisted on
variations of two main products: soybeans and other crops resistant to
Monsanto's Roundup herbicide, and BT corn and cotton, which are resistant
to the corn borer and the cotton bollworm, respectively.

The new product is also a form of BT corn, meaning it contains a gene
from a bacterium called Bacillus thuringiensis that causes the plant to
produce a toxin that kills the rootworm. But the type of BT toxin is
different from the ones used to kill the corn borer and the bollworm.

Advocates of crop biotechnology have long said that one of its benefits
would be to cut the use of more toxic insecticides that are sprayed on
fields, often killing not only the target pests but other insects and
wildlife and endangering the health of farmers. With the existing BT
corn, some experts say, there has been little if any reduction in
pesticide use because farmers do not always spray for the corn borer.

Monsanto said it expected the genetically engineered corn, which is
called YieldGard Rootworm, would eventually be used on 12 million to 15
million of the nation's 80 million acres of corn, generating $150 million
to $200 million in revenue. But this year there will be less than a
million acres grown because many farmers had already bought their seed
before the approval came and because Monsanto needs to manufacture more seed.

Monsanto is banking on genetically modified crops to reduce its
dependence on its mainstay Roundup herbicide, which is now facing generic
competition. The company's profits have been weak because of the
competition for Roundup, economic problems in Latin America and
resistance to genetically modified crops in some areas of the world,
particularly Europe. The company's stock fell 7 cents, to $16.75.

Fred Yoder, president of the National Corn Growers Association, predicted
farmers would eagerly adopt the new corn. "We've been waiting a long time
for this," he said. "Rootworm is the No. 1 pest and the No. 1 yield
robber we have in growing corn."

But Charles Benbrook, a consultant and former agricultural specialist for
the National Research Council who has been critical of genetically
modified crops, said that data provided by Monsanto showed the corn would
not kill all the rootworms. "If it doesn't perform any better than soil
insecticides I think a lot of farmers will stick with the insecticides,"
he said.

The E.P.A. regulates the plant because it is considered to contain a
built-in pesticide.

To prevent rootworms from becoming resistant to the BT corn, the E.P.A.
is requiring that farmers plant 20 percent of their corn fields with
different corn, as a refuge. That is the figure proposed by Monsanto.

But the majority of members of a scientific advisory panel convened by
the E.P.A. last August recommended that the refuge be 50 percent of each
farm's corn acreage. This larger refuge requirement might have
discouraged some farmers from growing the new corn.

Mr. Johnson of the E.P.A. said that after the advisory panel meeting,
Monsanto submitted more information that led the agency to conclude that
20 percent would be enough. That requirement is the same as for existing
BT corn varieties, and that would make it easier for farmers to comply.

The approval of the new corn is only for about one year, though it is
expected to be extended to three years, he said. In that time, he said,
scientists could gather more data on what size of a refuge is needed.

Dow Chemical and the Pioneer Hi-Bred unit of DuPont are working together
on their own version of BT rootworm resistant corn, which they hope to
market in 2005.