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Simplot Innate varieties up for public comment

After more than 12 years of research, Simplot Plant Sciences has submitted three genetically altered varieties of Russet Burbank, Ranger Russet and Atlantic to the USDA and the Food and Drug Administration for public comment between now and July 2, 2013.

Utilizing Innate technology, a Simplot trademarked method in which Simplot isolates desired native genes from other potato varieties and incorporates them in the genetic structure of the Burbank, Ranger or Atlantic. Simplot then calls the new varieties Innate Russet Burbank, Innate Ranger Russet and Innate Atlantic.

The first generation of Innate varieties contains three traits beneficial to the potato industry:

1) Reduced black spot from bruising, resulting in potatoes that are less prone to pressure bruising during storage.

2) Reduced asparagine reduces the potential for the formation of acrylamide, a chemical compound created when some foods are cooked at high temperatures. Innate varieties have up to 80 percent less acrylamide than other potatoes cooked at the same temperature.

3) Reduced sugars, which will, under certain conditions, provide potatoes with a consistent golden color when fried.

Haven Baker, vice president of plant sciences, said that Simplot hopes to avoid the problems Monsanto faced with the introduction of their genetically modified NewLeaf potato in 1995, the key difference between the two technologies being Simplot is using genetic material native to potatoes.

Simplot is working to get regulatory approval in foreign markets. “We are applying for import approval for Canada, Mexico and Japan,” Baker said.

Baker said that the three Innate varieties have undergone extensive, multiple 10-acre field trials in 12 states this past year.

“We have a number of potato companies that have expressed interest,” Baker said. “We are producing Innate potato seed so when we’re on the market there’s going to be potatoes available.”

Baker said that Simplot is already working on generation two Innate varieties. The next generation will include traits for reducing late blight and added health benefits such as increased vitamins and nutrients.

Comments may be submitted via email here. You can also send comments by postal mail or commercial delivery to: Docket No. APHIS-2012-0067, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS, Station 3A-03.8, 4700 River Road Unit 118, Riverdale, MD 20737-1238.

Originally posted Monday, May. 6, 2013

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