Brazil develops first GMO cotton of long fiber

The Brazilian Agricultural Research Company (Embrapa) and the Bahia Foundation have announced the development of the first Brazilian cultivar of GMO cotton with long fiber.
 
Named BRS 433 FL B2RF, it has a fiber length superior to 32.5 millimeters and elevated resistance (above 34 gf/tex), which is compatible with the preferences of the textile industry for the manufacturing of fine tissues for clothing.
 
The new cultivar supplies an internal demand because currently, Brazil needs to import longer fibers to mix with mid-sized fibers and produce a thread with better quality. According to Embrapa, the GMO cotton has an average size and long cycle, being indicated for the opening of planting in the cerrado geography of Bahia and other states, such as Maranhão, Piauí, and Tocantins, besides Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul and Goiás.
 
Embrapa also recommends the cultivar BRS 433 FL B2RF for the crop of irrigated condition in the semi-arid region of Northeastern Brazil. The productive potential is superior to 4,500 kilograms of cotton per hectare, with fiber yields of around 38.
 
“Currently, Brazil does not produce transgenic cotton with this quality of fiber, so the new cultivar represents an opportunity to attend this demand. The largest part of the fiber with superior quality is imported from countries, such as Egypt, United States, and Peru,” reminded the Chief of Technology Transference of the Embrapa Cotton unit, Researcher João Henrique Zonta.
 
This and two other cotton cultivars will be presented at the headquarters of the Bahia Foundation by May 31 during the Bahia Farm Show at the municipality of Luís Eduardo Magalhães. According to Embrapa, the new materials present high productivity, production stability, elevated fiber quality, besides the resistance to major caterpillars that attack cotton and the glyphosate . All the cultivars have Monsanto’s Bollgard II Roundup Ready Flex technology, which brings resistance to the glyphosate herbicide and caterpillars.
 
“The three cultivars have transgenic elements for the resistance of caterpillars, with two Bt genes (coming from the Bacillus thurigiensis), which reduces the necessity of the use of insecticides for the control of caterpillars; besides, they have resistance to glyphosate, allowing spraying with glyphosate for the control of weeds without the necessity of use of herbicides that are not selective for the directed spray,” affirmed Researcher Camilo Morelli, leader of the program of Cotton Genetic Improvement at Embrapa.
 

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