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MON810 is variety of Bt corn made by Monsanto.[1] It is sold under the brand name "YieldGard Corn Borer insect-protected corn." MON 810 has been genetically engineered so that every cell of the plant produces a toxin naturally made by the bacteria, Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt). The insecticidal protein is intended to make the corn European Corn Borer Resistant. On March 15, 1996, the USDA announced the deregulation of MON 809 and MON 810, which it back-dated to August 22, 1995. Bt Crops and genetically modified organisms are controversial throughout the world.

1996: Deregulation in the U.S.

On January 17, 1996, Monsanto requested the USDA add two more Bt corn lines to its previous petition for deregulation that had been approved the previous August. The two new lines were MON 809 and MON 810. APHIS agreed to add the two new lines to the previous petition and granted deregulation that was back-dated to August 22, 1995. The deregulation was announced in the Federal Register on March 15, 1996.

Upon deregulation, the USDA reported in the Federal Register:

"Corn lines MON 809 and MON 810 express a CryIA(b) protein derived from the common soil bacterium Bacillus thurigiensis subsp. kurstaki which confers resistance to European corn borer. The subject corn lines were generated through the use of the particle acceleration transformation system to insert plasmid vectors PV-ZMBK0y and PV-ZMGT10, the same vectors used to transform corn line MON 80100 for which the August 22, 1995, determination of nonregulated status was issued by APHIS."[2]


In 1997, Monsanto introduced Bt corn for the first time, branding its product "YieldGard Corn Borer insect-protected corn."[3] The line sold was MON 810.[4]

As Monsanto created more genetically engineered corn traits, it began combining them together in "stacked trait" seed varieties. In 1998, Monsanto introduced "YieldGard Corn Borer insect-protected corn stacked with Roundup Ready Corn. The product offers two traits in one seed - including Monsanto's YieldGard Corn Borer insect-protection and its Roundup Ready technology."[5] Several years later, in 2004, Monsanto developed and sold "YieldGard Plus" corn, which combines two different Bt corn products (European corn borer resistance via MON 810 and Corn Rootworm resistance via MON 863) in one seed[6] The next year, in 2005, Monsanto introduced "YieldGard Plus with Roundup Ready Corn 2," a corn seed with three different genetically engineered traits ("triple stacked"), including a Bt trait that kills European corn borers (MON 810), a second Bt trait to kill corn rootworms (MON 863), and the ability to withstand being sprayed with glyphosate herbicide.[7]

Genetically Modified Traits

Both MON 810 and another variety, MON809, had genes added to their DNA to give them traits intended to resist two corn pests: the European Corn Borer, Ostrinia nubilalis, and the southwestern corn borer. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration:[8]

"Monsanto states that insect resistance is conferred by the insecticidal protein cryIA(b), which is reported to be identical to that found in nature and in commercial insecticidal formulations obtained from Bacillus thuringiensis. Tolerance to the herbicidal compound glyphosate was utilized as a selectable marker during the development of MON809 corn. The firm indicates that the protein conferring herbicide tolerance, 5-enolpyruvylshikimate-3-phosphate synthase (CP4 EPSPS), is equivalent to that present in modified soybean and cotton lines, about which Monsanto has previously informed the Agency. Monsanto states that MON809 corn will not tolerate application of commercially acceptable levels of glyphosate and thus, will be marketed only for its insect resistant qualities. Line MON 810 does not contain the selectable marker which confers herbicide tolerance."


Monsanto conducted a study of broiler chickens fed MON 810 and MON 810 plus GA21 in 2003.[9] They also published a 90 day feeding study on rats examining the safety of MON 810 in 2006.[10] The study used 400 Sprague Dawley rats divided into 10 groups of 20 rats per sex per group. However, blood was only analyzed from 10 rats per sex per group.

Articles and resources

Related SourceWatch articles


  1. Biotechnology Consultation Note to the File BNF No. 000034, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, September 18, 1996, accessed September 6, 2011.
  2. Federal Register, Vol 61, No 52, March 15, 1996.
  3. Monsanto History, Accessed August 10, 2012.
  4. Product Safety Summaries, Accessed August 10, 2012.
  5. Monsanto Company History, Accessed August 10, 2012.
  6. Monsanto Company History, Accessed August 12, 2012.
  7. Monsanto Company History, Accessed August 10, 2012.
  8. Biotechnology Consultation Note to the File BNF No. 000034, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, September 18, 1996, accessed September 6, 2011.
  9. M.L. Taylor, G.F. Hartnell, S.G. Riordan, M.A. Nemeth, K. Karunanandaa, B. George, and J.D. Astwood, "Comparison of Broiler Performance When Fed Diets Containing Grain from YieldGard (MON810), YieldGard x Roundup Ready (GA21), and Nontransgenic Control, or Commercial Corn," Poultry Science, 2003.
  10. B.G. Hammond, R. Dudek, L.K. Lemen, M.A. Nemeth, "Results of a 90-day safety assurance study with rats fed grain from corn borer-protected corn," Food and Chemical Toxicology, 2006.

External resources

External articles

Leaked U.S. State Department Cables

The following leaked cables mention MON810:







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