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Dow Chemical Co.'s agricultural division said it has taken the next step toward gaining international patent rights for its new strain of genetically engineered corn that it says will help farmers battle a new strain of "super-weeds."
The company said Tuesday it published its patent application with the World Intellectual Property Organization. That's the first step toward securing its patent rights in countries around the world. If the patents are secured, it would give Dow a pathway to sell its corn seed in global markets.
The vast majority of genetically engineered crops on the market are resistant to Monsanto's Roundup herbicide, or its generic equivalent called glyphosate. This is a benefit to farmers because it lets them widely spray Roundup on their fields, killing weeds but leaving the crops behind. But weeds are increasingly adapting to the technology and are surviving Roundup applications.
Dow AgroSciences LLC said Tuesday its new corn plants are resistant to Dow's "2,4-D" herbicides. That means farmers could spray them with a chemical that will also kill Roundup resistant weeds.
Dow plans to commercialize its corn seeds by the 2012-2013 growing season.