MON 87460 is a variety of genetically engineered (GE) drought tolerant corn made by Monsanto. In 2011, it became the first GE drought tolerant corn deregulated (legalized) in the United States. It is not yet sold commercially. Genetically modified organisms are controversial around the world.
Monsanto submitted a petition to the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) for the deregulation of its corn variety MON 87460. On May 11, 2011, APHIS published a notice in the Federal Register announcing that the Monsanto petition, a plant pest risk assessment (PPRA), and a draft environmental assessment (EA), were available for public review and soliciting public comments, due on or before July 11, 2011. The USDA conducted an environmental assessment (EA) under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and issued a "finding of no significant impact" (FONSI). MON 87460 was deregulated on December 27, 2011.
According to the U.S. Environmental Assessment:
- "MON87460 is designed to mitigate grain yield loss under water-limited conditions. As detailed in the Monsanto Company petition, the enhanced drought tolerance of MON87460 results from the introduction and controlled expression of cold shock protein B (cspB), a native ribonucleic acid (RNA) chaperone derived from Bacillus subtilis (Monsanto, 2010). The enhanced drought tolerant phenotype of MON 87460 manifests primarily as reduced yield loss relative to conventional corn when subjected to water-limiting conditions. When MON 87460 was subjected to well-watered conditions, grain yield for MON87460 was not notably different than conventional corn. Data provided by the Monsanto Company demonstrates that MON87460 reduces yield loss under water-limiting conditions primarily by minimizing the effect of water deficiency on photosynthesis, stomatal conductance, and carbon fixation on corn growth and development, resulting in an increased number of kernels per ear (Monsanto, 2010)."
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