MON 88017

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MON 88017 is a variety of Roundup Ready Bt Corn made by Monsanto. It was deregulated in the U.S. in 2005. MON 88017 is corn that has been genetically engineered to produce an insecticidal protein that is naturally made by a bacteria called Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), in every cell of the plant. Additionally, it has been genetically engineered so that it survives being sprayed with the herbicide glyphosate, the active ingredient of Monsanto's herbicide Roundup. The GE corn variety is marketed as resistant to corn rootworm and "Roundup Ready 2." Bt crops, Roundup Ready crops, and genetically modified organisms are controversial throughout the world.


On May 4, 2004, Monsanto petitioned the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to deregulate MON 88017. APHIS published a notice in the Federal Register on August 12, 2005, soliciting public comments, which were due by October 11, 2005. APHIS performed an Environmental Assessment under the National Environmental Policy Act and concluded a "finding of no significant impact" (FONSI). MON 88017 was deregulated in the U.S. on December 14, 2005.

APHIS wrote in the Federal Register:

"Event MON 88017 corn has been genetically engineered to express a Cry3Bb1 insecticidal protein derived from Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) subspecies kumamotoensis strain EG4691. This gene has been modified to encode six specific amino acid substitutions when compared to strain EG4691. Cry3Bb1 expression is regulated by the enhanced 35S promoter (e35S) from cauliflower mosaic virus, the rice actin intron (ract1 intron), 5' leader sequence from wheat chlorophyll a/b-binding protein (wt CAB), and the 3' nontranslated region of the 17.3 kDa heat shock protein from wheat. Event MON 88017 has also been genetically engineered to express a 5-enolpyruvylshikimate-3-phosphate synthase protein from Agrobacterium sp. strain CP4 (CP4 EPSPS), which confers tolerance to the herbicide glyphosate. Expression of cp4 epsps is regulated by the rice actin 1 (ract1) 5' untranslated region containing the promoter and first intron and nopaline synthase 3' polyadenylation signal (NOS 3') from Agrobacterium tumefaciens. A construct containing both genes was delivered to the recipient corn variety, A xHi-IL, through Agrobacterium-mediated gene transfer. The petitioner states that the Cry3Bb1 protein expressed in MON 88017 is 99.8 percent identical to the Cry3Bb1 protein expressed in nonregulated corn line MON 863. The CP4 EPSPS protein is identical to corn line NK603."[1]


Monsanto branded MON 88017 as "YieldGard VT Rootworm/RR2" and sells it in the following products:[2][3]

Additionally, due to a cross-licensing agreement with Monsanto, Dow Agrosciences also sells corn with the MON 88017 in its SmartStax product (MON 88017, MON 89034, TC1507, and DAS59122-7).


Monsanto conducted a safety study on rats fed MON 88017 in 2008.[4] The study used 360 Sprague Dawley rats, divided into nine groups, with 20 rats per sex per group. The corn tested was MON 88017 that was sprayed with Roundup herbicide. The control was a near isoline (corn with the same genetics but lacking the MON 88017 genes). Both test and control corn were grown in Madison County, IL in 2004. All rats were fed diets with 33% corn. Control groups ate diets of 33% control corn. One test group ate 33% MON 88017 corn, and another was given 11% MON 88017 corn plus 22% control corn. The study also used groups of rats referred to as "reference controls" that were fed other commercial varieties of corn. Although the groups each contained 20 rats per sex, blood and urine were taken for analysis from only 10 rats per sex per group. Naturally, Monsanto concluded that it's genetically engineer corn is "as safe and nutritious as conventional corn hybrids."

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  1. Federal Register, Vol 71, No. 4, January 6, 2006.
  2. Product Safety Summaries, Monsanto, Accessed August 11, 2012.
  3. A Compendium of Biotech Traits, Purdue University, Accessed August 11, 2012.
  4. C. Healy, B. Hammond, and J. Kirkpatrick, "Results of a 13-week safety assurance study with rats fed grain from corn rootworm-protected, glyphosate-tolerant MON 88017 corn," Food and Chemical Toxicology, 2008.

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