Dow AgroScience has cleared a regulatory hurdle for a product designed to take on the RoundupReady system developed by one of the St. Louis area’s largest employers, Monsanto.
After limited testing, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that Dow’s genetically engineered seeds for herbicide-resistant corn and soybean plantsseeds don’t pose a threat to agricultural crops or other plants. Federal officials proposed full deregulation of three varieties of corn and soybean, even as activists continue to warn that the resulting spread of an herbicide that the plants are designed to resist, called 2,4-D, would harm non-resistant plants, the environment and human health.
Dow’s new seeds are seen as a response to the RoundupReady system, which included genetically engineered seeds resistant to the herbicide glyphosate (marketed as Roundup). Farmers embraced RoundupReady crops when they were introduced in the 1990s because they simplified weed management and reduced costs.Overuse over the last 15 years led to the development of Roundup-resistant weeds.