MON 863 is a variety of Bt Corn made by Monsanto. It was deregulated in the U.S. in 2002 and commercialized as "YieldGard Rootworm® Corn." MON 863 is corn that has been genetically engineered to produce a Bt toxin, a toxin that is naturally made by a bacteria called Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt for short), in every cell of the plant. The GE corn variety is marketed as resistant to corn rootworm. However, by 2011, pests evolved resistance to Bt. Bt corn and genetically modified organisms are controversial throughout the world.
Monsanto petitioned the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to deregulate MON 863 on May 17, 2001. APHIS published a notice in the Federal Register on March 14, 2002, soliciting public comments that were due by May 13, 2002. APHIS conducted an Environmental Assessment EA under the National Environmental Policy Act and concluded a "finding of no significant impact" (FONSI). MON 863 was deregulated in the U.S. on October 8, 2002.
At the time of deregulation, APHIS wrote in the Federal Register:
- "MON 863 corn has been genetically engineered to express a Cry3Bb1 insecticidal protein derived from the common soil bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis subsp. kumamotoensis (Bt kumamotoensis). The petitioner stated that the Cry3Bb1 protein is effective in controlling the larvae of CRW [corn rootworm] pests (Coleoptera, Diabrotica spp.). The subject corn also contains the nptII marker gene derived from the bacterium Escherichia coli. The nptII gene encodes neomycin phosphtransferase type II and is used as a selectable marker in the initial laboratory stages of plant cell selection. Expression of the added genes is controlled in part by sequences from the plant pathogens cauliflower mosaic virus and Agrobacterium tumefaciens. Particle gun acceleration technology was used to transfer the added genes into the recipient inbred yellow dent corn line A634."
Monsanto commercialized MON 863 as "YieldGard Rootworm® Corn" and first sold it in 2003. That year, Monsanto also sold the MON 863 trait in YieldGard Rootworm insect-protected corn stacked with Roundup Ready Corn 2.
In 2004, Monsanto offered "YieldGard Plus corn," a product with both the corn rootworm resistance trait (MON 863) and a European corn borer resistance trait (MON 810). In 2005, Monsanto offered a "triple stacked" product called "YieldGard Plus with Roundup Ready Corn 2." This included both insect resistance Bt traits as well as its Roundup Ready 2 trait.
In 2006, Monsanto published a 90 day feeding study testing the safety of MON 863 in rats. The study used Sprague Dawley rats divided into 10 groups with 20 rats per sex per group. However, blood and urine were only collected for analysis from 10 rats per sex per group.
Articles and resources
Related SourceWatch articles
- Corn Rootworm Resistant Corn
- Bt Corn
- GE Corn
- Bt Crops
- Genetically Modified Organisms
- GMO Policies by Country
- Bacillus thuringiensis
- Bt-Resistant Insects
- Clay Dillow, "Pests Are Developing Resistance to Monsanto's Engineered Supercorn," Popular Science, August 30, 2011, Accessed September 1, 2011.
- Federal Register, Vol 67, No. 205, October 23, 2002.
- Monsanto Company History, Accessed August 11, 2012.
- B. Hammond, J. Lemen, R. Dudek, D. Ward, C. Jiang, M. Nemeth, J. Burns, "Results of a 90-day safety assurance study with rats fed grain from corn rootworm-protected corn," Food and Chemical Toxicology, 2006.
- Know Before You Grow, National Corn Growers Association
- A Compendium of Biotech Corn Traits, Purdue University.
- GM Crop Database, Center for Environmental Risk Assessment
- Overview of GMO Events Commercially Available and Regulatory Status
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- Jack Kaskey, "Monsanto Corn Falls to Illinois Bugs as Investigation Widens," Bloomberg, September 2, 2011.
- Clay Dillow, "Pests Are Developing Resistance to Monsanto's Engineered Supercorn," Popular Science, August 30, 2011.
- Associated Press, "Monsanto shares slip on bug-resistant corn woes," Forbes, August 29, 2011.
- Scott Kilman, "Monsanto Corn Plant Losing Bug Resistance," Wall Street Journal, August 29, 2011.
- Dan Piller, "Beetle resistance reported to Monsanto BT corn," Des Moines Register, August 28, 2011.
- Mike Gray, "Severe root damage to Bt corn confirmed in northwestern Illinois," Aces News, August 24, 2011.