GMO news related to Belgium

22.04.2021 |

First application for approval of CRISPR/Cas plants in the EU

DowDupont maize (Corteva) is resistant to herbicides and produces insecticides

The first application for approval of CRISPR/Cas plants is now in the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) register. Maize DP915635 is resistant to the herbicide glufosinate and produces an insecticidal toxin found in specific ferns growing on trees. DowDupont is marketing its genetically engineered plants under the company name Corteva, and also has filed several patent applications for the plants, some of which have already been granted in Europe.

The maize was generated with a combination of old and new genetic engineering methods (GE): to deliver the CRISPR/Cas ‘gene scissors’ into the plant cells, they are first bombarded with small particles (‘gene canon’). In consequence, the cells produced the enzyme for the gene scissors which then inserted a DNA-sequence into the maize genome. This additional DNA-sequence is meant to facilitate the insertion of other genes, and therefore is called a ‘landing pad’. In a next step, again involving ‘old GE’, a further gene construct is inserted into the ‘landing pad’ in the maize genome, conferring resistance to the herbicide and producing the fern toxin.