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TITLE:  BRAZIL DEVELOPS ITS FIRST GENETICALLY MODIFIED PLANT

SOURCE: Xinhua, China

AUTHOR: 

URL:    http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2007-08/08/content_6493023.htm

DATE:   07.08.2007

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BRAZIL DEVELOPS ITS FIRST GENETICALLY MODIFIED PLANT

RIO DE JANEIRO, Aug. 7 (Xinhua) -- The Brazilian Enterprise of Agropecuary Research (Embrapa) said Tuesday that it had developed Brazil’s first genetically modified soybean for commercial purposes with the world’s largest chemical company BASF.

The transgenic soybean contains a gene of the plant Thale Cress, scientifically known as Arabidopsis thaliana, a member of the watercress and mustard family that is commonly grown in the lab. The gene provides the soybean with resistance to imidazolinone herbicide.

Imidazolinone competes in the international herbicide market with glyphosate which is the main ingredient of herbicide Roundup developed by the U.S. Monsanto Company, Germany-based BASF’s main competitor.

The partnership between the two companies started in 1997, with BASF providing the gene patent and Embrapa developing the genetic modification technology.

According to Embrapa, several bio-security tests are being carried out to check the plant’s impact on the environment and human feeding. The results will be sent to the National Bio-security Technical Committee in charge of authorizing the project.

BASF’s Biotechnology Manager in Brazil Luiz Carlos Louzano expects the new soybean to take over up to 20 percent of the Brazilian market and will enhance its competition with Monsanto.

”We want to offer an option that is economically and technologically interesting to soy growers,” said Louzano.

Local media reported that the companies expect to launch the soybean in the market by 2012.


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