Soybean Event 356043
Soybean Event 356043 is a variety of ALS Inhibitor and glyphosate tolerant soybeans made by Pioneer Hi-Bred (DuPont). They are genetically engineered to allow them to withstand the herbicide glyphosate (the active ingredient in Monsanto's herbicide Roundup) and any ALS inhibiting herbicide. When planting these soybeans, a farmer can spray the entire crop with glyphosate and/or ALS inhibitors, killing only the weeds and leaving the soybeans alive. However, one concern with the heavy use of herbicides on herbicide tolerant crops is that it will lead to the development of herbicide resistant weeds (sometimes referred to as "superweeds").
On September 28, 2006, Pioneer Hi-Bred petitioned the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to deregulate (legalize) Event 356043. On October 5, 2007, APHIS published a notice in the Federal Register announcing that it had received the petition and soliciting public comments, due on or before December 4, 2007. The USDA did an Environmental Assessment (EA) under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and concluded a "finding of no significant impact" (FONSI). On July 24, 2008, APHIS deregulated Event 356043 soybeans.
At the time of deregulation, APHIS wrote in the Federal Register:
- "As described in the petition, 356043 soybean plants have been genetically engineered to express modified glyphosate acetyltransferase (GAT 4601) and ALS proteins, which confers tolerance to glyphosate and ALS-inhibiting herbicides. The gat4601 gene is derived from gat genes from Bacillus licheniformis, a common soil bacterium. Expression of the gat4601 gene is driven by a synthetic constitutive promoter (SCP1). The gene that confers tolerance to ALS-inhibiting herbicides is gm-hra and is a modified soybean ALS gene. Expression of the gm-hra gene is driven by a constitutive soybean S-adenosyl-Lmethionine synthetase (SAMS) promoter. A single copy of these genes and their regulatory sequences were introduced into soybean somatic embryos using microprojectile bombardment."
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