NewLeaf Potato

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The NewLeaf Potato is a genetically engineered potato that produces its own insecticide. The insecticide is the same chemical that is naturally produced by the bacteria Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt). It is also genetically engineered for resistance to Potato Leaf Roll Virus (PLRV). The NewLeaf potato is not sold commercially.

1998: Deregulation

On July 23, 1997, the USDA received from Monsanto seeking deregulation of seven lines of "NewLeaf" genetically modified Russet Burbank potatoes (RBMT21-129 & RBMT21-350). The potatoes were genetically engineered for resistance to the Colorado Potato Beetle (CPB) and Potato Leaf Roll Virus (PLRV). APHIS published notice in the Federal Register November 20, 1997 announcing that the petition had been received and was ready for public review. APHIS solicited public comments, due by January 20, 1998.

"Russet Burbank potato lines RBMT21-129 and RBMT21-350 have been genetically engineered to contain the cryIIIA gene derived from Bacillus thurigiensis subsp. tenebrionis (Btt), which encodes an insecticidal protein that is effective against CPB, and the orf1/orf2 gene derived from PLRV, which imparts resistance to PLRV. In addition to the cryIIIA gene and the orf1/orf2 gene, these potato lines contain the nptII gene, which encodes the NPTII protein used as a selectable marker in the initial stages of plant transformation. The subject potato lines were developed through the use of the Agrobacterium tumefaciens transformation method, and expression of the added genes is controlled in part by gene sequences derived from the plant pathogens A. tumefaciens and the figwort mosaic virus."[1]

APHIS performed an Environmental Assessment under the National Environmental Policy Act and concluded a "finding of no significant impact" (FONSI). The potatoes were deregulated on December 3, 1998.


For more information, see the pages on Bt Crops and Genetically Modified Organisms

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  1. Federal Register, Vol. 63, No. 242, December 17, 1998.

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