Within a few years, DuPont Crop Protection and its subsidiary Pioneer Hi-Bred International will offer new choices in glypohsate tolerance, as
well as in tolerance to a wide range of acetolactate synthase (ALS)
inhibitor herbicides for corn and soybean seed.
Using its "gene shuffling" technology, DuPont developed a proprietary trait
called Optimum GAT (a short acronym for glyphosate, ALS tolerant) that is
scheduled to be commercially available in a select line of soybean seed in
2009 and corn seed in 2010, pending the proper and final regulatory
approvals. DuPont also plans to incorporate this special trait in cotton and
"This trait also helps us put together a wider range of chemical treatments
or combinations that will allow producers to better decide what is right for
them in terms of short- or long-term residuals based on particular crop
rotations, time of application or even tillage systems," says Mark Wolters,
DuPont Crop Protection seed systems manager. "Basically, this new trait will
expand weed-control options, offer longer lasting and broader spectrum weed and grass control under more growing conditions, and improve crop safety."
According to DuPont, a two-year study at the University of Nebraska also
showed that the GAT trait eliminated the yield drag (often 3 bu./acre)
associated with the Roundup Ready trait.
As of early July 2007, DuPont reported that it had completed regulatory
submissions for the special trait in corn to the FDA, USDA, and EPA, as well as in Canada. Submissions for approval in soybeans were completed in 2006.
In spring 2007, the company completed the regulatory submission for import
approval in Mexico and made additional submissions for import approval in
the European Union, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Australia and New Zealand.
The Optimum GAT trait is licensed to Syngenta Seeds for use in corn and
soybeans and is being licensed to Delta & Pine Land for use in cotton. The
trait also will be cross-licensed through GreenLeaf Genetics, a joint
venture between Syngenta Seeds and Pioneer, to license genetics and seed
technology to other U.S. and Canadian seed companies.