Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Get Bent!

Monsanto and Scotts are petitioning the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to deregulate a genetically engineered cultivar of creeping bentgrass (Agrostis stolonifera). The grass has been engineered to be resistant to the herbicide glyphosate. While often used as a turfgrass and for erosion control, creeping bentgrass is a non-native species considered a weed in many areas, and known to hybridize with many native and non-native Agrostis species in the U.S. APHIS, which has already done a preliminary risk assessment (.pdf file), is approaching this request for deregulation cautiously, and asking people to comment on the proposal by March 5th. This is Docket # 03-101-1 in the Federal Register, with a citation of 69 FR 315-317. After the comment period is closed, APHIS will publish a summary document and decide whether or not to approve the petition.

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