The US Department of Agriculture Biotechnology Regulatory Service has granted a permit for the release of sterile, genetically marked pink bollworm in up to 120 acres of commercial cotton in Arizona in the summer of 2007. USDA researchers associated with the existing sterile insect control programme will evaluate the performance of a strain modified with a heritable marker and irradiated at a lower dose than the standard of 20 KR. The modified moths are expected to be more competitive because of the reduction in radiation damage and easier to monitor accurately with the addition of the in-built marker. The experimental strain was developed in collaboration with Oxitec Ltd using Oxitec technology. The modified moths will be produced at a rate of around 400,000 per week at the USDA rearing facility in Phoenix.
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