The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Animal and Plant Health
Inspection Service (APHIS) announced the deregulation of genetically
engineered cotton with ultra-low levels of gossypol in its seed, which was
developed by experts at Texas A&M University.
Gossypol is a natural compound present in the pigments of cotton plants
which protects them from pests and diseases. Scientists at Texas A&M
modified the cotton plant to produce protective levels of gossypol in
various plant parts but reduced in the seed. Low gossypol in the seeds is
beneficial for agriculture because it reduces the refining cost of
cottonseed oil and expands the application of cottonseed in the livestock
and aquaculture feed industries.
After considering all the public comments about the draft plant pest risk
assessment (PPRA) and draft environmental assessment (EA) of the GE cotton,
APHIS conducted a thorough review of the potential environmental impacts in
its final EA pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act, and reached
a finding of no significant impact (FONSI).
APHIS concluded in its final PPRA that the GE cotton is unlikely to pose a
plant pest risk to agricultural crops or other plants in the US and is
deregulating this variety of GE cotton effective on October 17, 2018.