The [USDA] has advised the potato’s developer, Calyxt, the cultivar is not a “regulated article” under federal law because it doesn’t contain genes from plant pests.
Because most commercial biotech crops incorporate genes from plant pests, they were subject to environmental analysis and a risk assessment from USDA before they were deregulated.
In the case of Calyxt’s “PPO_KO” potato, the variety was created through the “knockout” of an unwanted gene that causes bruising without leaving plant pest genes in the crop.
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The Center for Food Safety, a prominent critic of genetically engineered crops, is skeptical of the PPO_KO potato’s benefits.
Calyxt has eliminated the gene responsible for producing the enzyme polyphenol oxidase, or PPO, which performs functions other than causing bruises, said Bill Freese, science policy analyst with the group.
For example, the enzyme is associated with greater pest and disease resistance, he said. “ …by knocking out these genes, are you making the plant … more susceptible to disease?”
Calyxt … said the company has only eliminated one of at least six genes associated with the enzyme.
“Therefore, the other PPO genes will still be functional to help protect the potato plants from disease, insects and other stresses,” the company said in an email.
The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion and analysis. Read full, original post: USDA clears new GMO potato variety