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First Bt Bean Fights SCN

(Progressive Farmer image by Pamela Smith)

Bt traits are well-known in corn and cotton,
but here comes a new application in soybeans. Growers could see a new Bt protein, Cry14Ab-1, fighting soybean cyst nematode (SCN) by the latter part of the decade.

SCN is a nasty nemesis that robs soybean growers of an estimated $1 billion in lost yield each year. BASF is developing the new Bt trait, known currently as GMB151. It would be the first Bt soybean variety commercialized in the U.S., as well as the first Bt trait to target nematodes.

BASF says the trait, which offers "moderate suppression" of SCN, will be stacked with native SCN-resistance traits, such as PI 88788 or Peking.

As part of its registration efforts, BASF has tested Cry14Ab-1 against a range of insects and nontarget organisms, such as bees, earthworms and free-living nematodes that inhabit the soil. They found no negative effects or activity on any species except for one other nematode, the roundworm.

The company has not yet released its plan to keep resistance at bay, an issue that has plagued the management of soybean cyst nematode in the U.S. Currently, the pest has evolved widespread tolerance to PI 88788, which accounts for 98% of all SCN-resistant varieties.

"A resistance-management plan will be submitted at the time of application for a Section 3 Commercial registration," says BASF spokesperson Odessa Hines. "One of the many points of discussion includes the effectiveness of refuge with a nematode trait."

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