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United States approves transgenic potatoes

A transgenic potato has just been approved in the United States and may be available to consumers in that country in 2017. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has assessed the genetically modified organism (GMO) as being so safe As any other plant variety already available.


The GMO is the second generation of a product already grown in the USA. The new potato, however, combines four characteristics: it is less susceptible to damage and the disease of the black pint, has a lower content of asparagine (amino acid that, if heated to high temperatures, can cause bad health),

greater ability to resist the cold When stored and resistance to the fungus Phytophthora infestans, causing the potato blight.

The disease, of rapid spread and high destructive potential, caused the famous 'Great Hunger of Ireland' in the mid-nineteenth century. At that time, the potato blight came to Europe and devastated the plantations across the continent. In Ireland, the damage was even greater because a significant portion of the population depended exclusively on the crop to survive. As a result of this event, approximately 25% of the Irish died or immigrated.


The benefits of the GM tuber were obtained by combining genes from wild and cultivated potato varieties. Resistance to re-blending, for example, came from an Argentine plant species, which naturally expresses the characteristic. According to the developer, with the transgenic vegetable, it will be possible to reduce applications of chemical pesticides by up to 45%.


Before finally entering the market, the new potato must still pass through the US Environmental Protection Agency, which is expected to occur in December this year. Prior to FDA approval, the GM plant had already been approved by the US Department of Agriculture in August 2015.


Source: The New York Times, January 2015

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