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Virus-resistant gene-edited tomato won’t be regulated as GMOs, USDA says

Gene-edited tomatoes that are resistant to common viruses can be introduced into the U.S. without coming under federal regulations for genetically engineered plants.

The USDA has determined that six tomato lines developed by Nexgen Plants of Australia aren’t potential plant pests and thus don’t fall under the agency’s jurisdiction for regulating biotech crops.

Nexgen altered the tomatoes with “particle bombardment” of gene sequences that allows the plants to detect and destroy the tomato spotted wilt virus and cauliflower mosaic virus.

“We only use the native DNA of the plant, we don’t insert any foreign DNA,” said Philippe Herve, the company’s CEO.

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Such changes to plant DNA can be accomplished with the use of agrobacterium, which is considered a plant pest, but that would place the tomato lines under USDA regulations for genetic engineering, Herve said.

By relying on particle bombardment and native DNA, the company can now conduct field trials within the U.S. without undergoing the federal deregulation process, he said.

Read full, original article: USDA clears gene-edited, virus-resistant tomatoes

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