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CIBA SEEDS INTRODUCES GENE

 RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C., Jan. 27 /PRNewswire/ -- Ciba Seeds has introduced a gene into corn that provides protection from European corn borer (ECB). Commercially useful corn lines have been tested in the field and have shown considerable resistance to this pest, which causes widespread loss of yield every year. Ciba Seeds hopes to commercialize this corn within five years and is starting the necessary series of wide scale testing in order to be able to register the product.
 The gene is derived from the soil bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) and was introduced into maize by scientists at Ciba's Agricultural Biotechnology Research Unit (ABRU) in Research Triangle Park. The gene leads to the production of a protein that specifically attacks ECB larvae, which bore into the stalk. The original transformed lines and hybrids derived from them were tested in the field in both the United States and France. Even under heavy artificial infestations of the pest, these lines showed almost complete absence of damage. A detailed description of the experiments and their results will appear in the February issue of Bio/Technology magazine.
 A comprehensive series of tests will have to be done before commercialization of corn hybrids containing the Bt gene can take place, and the product must be registered by the relevant authorities. In order to produce enough material to do the test, Ciba Seeds has applied for an Experimental Use Permit through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). If granted, the permit will allow the company to grow more than 10 acres of this corn in 1993.
 Ciba Seeds sells corn seed in Europe, the United States, South America and Asia. It has been searching for a solution to the problems of corn borers for some years. In the United States and Europe, European corn borer causes an average of three- to seven-percent loss of yield each year. In bad seasons, losses may be as high as 20 percent.
 -0- 1/27/93
 /CONTACT: Nancy Krull of Mona Meyer McGrath & Gavin, 612-832-5000, for Ciba Seeds, or Myrna Krueger of Ciba Seeds, 919-547-1000/


CO: Ciba Seeds ST: North Carolina IN: SU: PDT

AL -- MN012 -- 9706 01/27/93 13:23 EST
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Date:Jan 27, 1993
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