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MON809 is variety of Bt Corn made by Monsanto.[1] It has been been genetically modified so that every cell of the plant produces a toxin naturally made by the bacteria, Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt). The insecticidal protein is intended to make the corn European Corn Borer Resistant. On March 15, 1996, the USDA announced the deregulation of MON 809 and MON 810, which it back-dated to August 22, 1995. Bt Crops and genetically modified organisms are controversial throughout the world.

Deregulation in the U.S.

On January 17, 1996, Monsanto requested the USDA add two more Bt corn lines to its previous petition for deregulation that had been approved the previous August. The two new lines were MON 809 and MON 810. APHIS agreed to add the two new lines to the previous petition and granted deregulation that was back-dated to August 22, 1995. The deregulation was announced in the Federal Register on March 15, 1996.

Upon deregulation, the USDA reported in the Federal Register:

"Corn lines MON 809 and MON 810 express a CryIA(b) protein derived from the common soil bacterium Bacillus thurigiensis subsp. kurstaki which confers resistance to European corn borer. The subject corn lines were generated through the use of the particle acceleration transformation system to insert plasmid vectors PV-ZMBK0y and PV-ZMGT10, the same vectors used to transform corn line MON 80100 for which the August 22, 1995, determination of nonregulated status was issued by APHIS."[2]

Genetically Modified Traits

Both MON 809 and another variety, MON810, had genes added to their DNA to give them traits intended to resist two corn pests: the European Corn Borer, Ostrinia nubilalis, and the southwestern corn borer. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration:[3]

"Monsanto states that insect resistance is conferred by the insecticidal protein cryIA(b), which is reported to be identical to that found in nature and in commercial insecticidal formulations obtained from Bacillus thuringiensis. Tolerance to the herbicidal compound glyphosate was utilized as a selectable marker during the development of MON809 corn. The firm indicates that the protein conferring herbicide tolerance, 5-enolpyruvylshikimate-3-phosphate synthase (CP4 EPSPS), is equivalent to that present in modified soybean and cotton lines, about which Monsanto has previously informed the Agency. Monsanto states that MON809 corn will not tolerate application of commercially acceptable levels of glyphosate and thus, will be marketed only for its insect resistant qualities. Line MON 810 does not contain the selectable marker which confers herbicide tolerance."

Articles and resources

Related SourceWatch articles


  1. Biotechnology Consultation Note to the File BNF No. 000034, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, September 18, 1996, accessed September 6, 2011.
  2. Federal Register, Vol 61, No 52, March 15, 1996.
  3. Biotechnology Consultation Note to the File BNF No. 000034, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, September 18, 1996, accessed September 6, 2011.

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