COT102 is a variety of Bt cotton created by Syngenta. It was initially deregulated in the U.S. in 2005. It is genetically engineered to produce an insecticidal protein in every cell, using a gene from Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt). Bt crops and genetically modified organisms are controversial around the world.
On June 4, 2003, Syngenta petitioned the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to deregulate COT102. APHIS published a notice in the Federal Register on January 25, 2005, soliciting public comments that were due by March 29, 2005. APHIS conducted an Environmental Assessment (EA) under the National Environmental Policy Act and concluded a "finding of no significant impact" (FONSI). COT102 was deregulated in the U.S. on July 6, 2005.
APHIS wrote in the Federal Register:
- "Event COT102 cotton has been genetically engineered to contain an insecticidal Vip3A(a) gene derived from Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) strain AB88 under the control of the actin-2 promoter derived from Arabidopsis thaliana, which confers expression of the VIP3A(a) protein throughout the plant with the exception of the fiber and nectar. Event COT102 cotton also contains the selectable marker gene aph4 derived from Escherichia coli. The aph4 gene encodes the enzyme hygromycinB phosphotransferase and its expression is controlled by the ubiquitin-3 promtoer from A. thaliana. Agrobacterium-mediated gene transfer was used to transfer the added genes into the recipient Coker 312 cotton variety. The petitioner states that whipe the VIP3A protein shares no homology with known Cry proteins, testing has shown that VIP3A is similarly specific in toxicity only to the larvae of certain lepidopteran species. However, the VIP3A apparently targets a different receptor than the Cry1 proteins in sensitive species and therefore may be useful in the management of pest resistance."
The maker of COT102, Syngenta, does not operate a cotton seed business. Syngenta licensed the COT102 trait to Monsanto, which announced plans to "stack COT102 with Genuity™ Bollgard® II to create their future insect control product, Bollgard III" in December 2009. Monsanto's Genuity™ Bollgard® II product contains the MON 15985 Bt cotton trait.
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Related SourceWatch articles
- Federal Register, Vol 70, No. 138, July 20, 2005.
- "Syngenta Announces Licensing Agreements for its Cotton Traits Technology," Syngenta Press Release, January 7, 2010, Accessed August 12, 2012.
- Syngenta Announces Licensing Agreements for its Cotton Traits Technology, Syngenta Press Release, January 7, 2010.