Dow two-Bt soybean insect-resistant trait approved

Inserting the insect-resistant trait event DAS-81419-2 into soybeans to provide a novel insect resistance by soybean plants has received approval or "nonregulated status from the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The deregulation during late April paves the way for the two Bt protein event or trait to be included in soybeans through gene engineering methods and the soybeans sold in the U.S.

The Bt combination is reportedly excellent against lepidopteran pests. The company last October announced, "Extensive research has shown that the company's trait provides broad in-plant protection against lepidopteran pests such as fall army (Spodoptera frugiperda), soybean looper (Pseudoplusia includes), velvetbean caterpillar (Anticarsia gemmatalis), soybean podworm (Helicoverpa gelotopoeon) and tobacco budworm (Heliothis virescens) as well as Rachiplusia nu.

In that same news releases, Dow AgroSciences said the trait had a place for inclusion in Enlist soybeans, that are mainly noted as being soybeans resistant to postemerge application of the company's proprietary 2,4-D choline herbicide. Enlist soybeans are going through the USDA deregulation process at the moment.

"Upon regulatory approvals, the soybean insect-resistant trait will be offered as a stack with the company's innovative Enlist soybean traits in elite and high-yielding varieties. This integrated solution will provide much-needed insect control as well as tolerance to multiple herbicides for improved weed management, allowing crops to maximize yield in a highly efficient and sustainable manner, Dow AgroSciences noted.

The U.S. is only one of a few countries where the Bt trait has been submitted for regulatory approval. Dow AgroSciences has said the trait would initially be targeted for commercialization in soybeans for South America where lepidopteran insect pressure can be quite high. Brazil and Argentina are specifically noted as countries that could greatly benefit from new Bt-traited soybeans. The company said it plans to broadly license the technology to regional seed companies in those two countries but wasn't expecting it to be in South American soybean seed for three to five years.

There has been no timeline for the trait to be incorporated into U.S. Enlist soybeans, but the first Enlist soybeans, possibly approved by the USDA and commercially available as soon as 2015, will not have the DAS-81419-2 event included.