The approval allows the company to move ahead with large-scale field trials of cotton varieties containing WideStrike during the 2003 season.

WideStrike insect protection – a combination of the Cry1F and Cry1Ac Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) proteins – has been in development and field study by Dow AgroSciences for several years.

Preliminary results from 75 field trials conducted in 2002 show that WideStrike delivers season-long protection against a broad spectrum of lepidopteran pests such as cotton bollworm, tobacco budworm, pink bollworm, beet armyworm, fall armyworm, Southern armyworm, cabbage loopers and soybean loopers.

“This season’s planting is key for the progress of our breeding program and for the development of information to support the full registration of WideStrike insect protection,” says Irene Gatti, regulatory manager, biotechnology for Dow AgroSciences.

Full federal registration for the trait is anticipated in 2004.

Trials for WideStrike insect protection will be conducted in multiple locations throughout the Southeast and Mid-South. Cotton varieties containing WideStrike will be included in university agronomic evaluation trials in Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina.

In addition, university researchers and Extension specialists, cotton consultants and managers of leading private research farms will conduct trials. This will allow evaluation of WideStrike under varying production systems and infestation levels by leading entomologists and researchers in the cotton industry.

Pending full federal and state registration, WideStrike introduction is planned in elite varieties from Phytogen Seed Company in 2004 and in varieties from other cottonseed companies by 2005. Phytogen varieties containing WideStrike stacked with the Roundup Ready gene are also anticipated by 2005.

For more information about Dow AgroSciences, visit www.dowagro.com.

e-mail: flaws@primediabusiness.com