Genuity Smartstax logo
|Developer:||Monsanto and Dow AgroSciences|
|Currently Available in:||Corn|
|Coming Soon In:||Cotton, Soybean, and specialty crops|
|Introduced to Market:||2009|
|Herbicide Tolerance:||Roundup Ready 2 and Liberty Link|
|Insect Protection||VT Triple Pro and Herculex Xtra|
SmartStax is a brand of genetically modified seed made through a collaboration between Monsanto Company and Dow Chemical Company. It takes advantage of multiple modes of insect protection and herbicide tolerance. SmartStax takes advantage of Yieldgard VT Triple (Monsanto), Herculex Xtra (Dow), RoundUp Ready 2 (Monsanto), and Liberty Link (Dow). The traits included protect against above-ground insects, Below-Ground insects, and provide broad herbicide tolerance. It is currently available for corn, but cotton, soybean, and specialty crop variations are to be released. Previously, the most genes artificially added to a single plant was three, but Smartstax includes eight. Smartstax also takes advantage of the Acceleron Seed Treatment System which protects against insects at the earliest stages of development. SmartStax is ground-breaking in that it requires only 5% refuge acres as opposed to the 20% required of older technologies. Smartstax builds towards Monsanto's Promise of doubling yields by 2030 on the same or less land. Smartstax is sold under the Genuity (Monsanto) and Mycogen (Dow) brands.
To prevent or delay insect resistance, growers plant a refuge on their farm. This is an area of non-GM plants where insect can live. These insect will not evolve resistance to GM technology. These refuge acres ensure that rare resistant insects that feed on insect-protected varieties of corn will mate with susceptible insects and slow the development of resistance.
Promotion and branding
Smartstax corn has been advertised and promoted on television, at farm trade shows, and online as Monsanto has geared up for widespread commercial release. Smartstax is sold under the Genuity Brand by Monsanto and the Mycogen brand by Dow, but both companies have the right to sell it under as many names with as many additional technologies as they wish. Some of the topics discussed in the TV spot and the online videos include the reduced refuge acreage requirements, improved yields, and increased flexibility. The two common phrases used when discussing the Genuity brand are "Wouldn't it be better" and "Helping farmers do what they do best, even better. The "smart" portion of Smartstax is an acronym standing for Spectrum, Multiple (modes of action), Acceleron, Reduced (corn refuge acres), and Total (piece of mind). Dow has not promoted Smartstax as heavily.
Weed and insect resistance
Recently, rapid emergence of weeds thought to be resistant to Roundup have been observed. Horseweed, Giant Ragweed and Pigweed, among others have been found growing with crops across the country. Insects including Corn Rootworm and Bollworm have also begun showing signs of resistance. In response, Monsanto has continued to develop new products. The USDA approves use of BT crops and has ruled BT crops safe for human consumption. Monsanto has denied there is a problem with their product.
- National Corn Growers Association
- "Invasion of the Superweeds". New York Times.
- "GE Crops Benefit Farmers, But Management Needed to Maintain Effectiveness". The National Academies.
- "Farmers Cope With Roundup-Resistant Weeds". New York Times.
- Gassmann, AJ; Petzold-Maxwell, JL; Keweshan, RS; Dunbar, MW (2011). Meyer, Peter, ed. "Field-evolved resistance to Bt maize by western corn rootworm". PloS one 6 (7): e22629. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0022629. PMC 3146474. PMID 21829470.
- "Bigger Refuges Needed to Delay Pest Resistance to Biotech Corn". Science Daily.
- "First Documented Case Of Pest Resistance To Biotech Cotton". Science Daily.
- "Insects Find Crack In Biotech Corn's Armor". NPR Food Blog.
- "New Disease-Resistant Food Crops Under Development". Science Daily.
- "Attack of the Monsanto Superinsects". Mother Jones.
- "Adoption of Genetically Engineered Crops in the U.S.: Extent of Adoption". United States Department of Agriculture.
- "Memorandum". United States Environmental Protection Agency.