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RNAi Insecticide Within Corn

The US Environmental Protection Agency has given the go-ahead to Monsanto for its RNAi-based insecticide, the Atlantic reports. It adds that this is the first approved RNAi insecticide.

"I would put RNA in the suite of really advanced, next-generation technologies that are adding to the excitement from a research perspective," Robb Fraley, the chief technology officer at Monsanto, tells the Atlantic.

The insecticide, DvSnf7 dsRNA, is to be incorporated into the company's line of SmartStax Pro corn seeds, according to the Atlantic. Rather than directly affecting the corn, DvSnf7 dsRNA instead modifies the western corn rootworm, a corn pest. Monsanto is bundling DvSnf7 and Bt dsRNA, it adds.

The Atlantic says at the quick approval process at EPA took some critics of RNAi use by surprise. "There's faddish interest in the latest technology," Bill Freese from the Center for Food Safety tells the Atlantic. "It often neglects the basic issues of the unhealthy practices used in planting corn." He adds that there should've been more time for public input.