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Herculex® RW Product Overview

Herculex® RW insect protection for corn (HXRW; event DAS-59122-7), co-developed by Dow AgroSciences and Pioneer Hi-Bred provides plant incorporated insect protection against corn rootworm (CRW). Two proteins, Cry34Ab1 (referred to as Cry34) and Cry35Ab1 (referred to as Cry35), are produced in HXRW that work together to control western (Diabrotica virgifiera virgifera), northern (Diabrotica berberi) and Mexican CRW (Diabrotica virgifera zeae) larval feeding, providing an alternative to soil or seed-applied insecticides for rootworm control.

Insect infestation of crops can severely affect the health of plants resulting in reduced yield (measured in bu/acres) and grain quality. In the U.S., damage by CRW currently costs growers $1 billion (USD) annually. HXRW provides many benefits for farmers, including yield improvement through effective target insect control. In field tests during the 2004 and 2005 growing seasons, the average grain yield in HXRW plots was 27 and 22 bu/acre higher than the same hybrids without protection, respectively. 

in 2006 and 2007 research conducted by several Midwest universities confirmed that hybrids with the Herculex RW or Herculex XTRA genes were consistently superior to other corn rootworm management options - transgenic or soil insecticide.

In 14 university trials in 2006, Pioneer® brand hybrids with the Herculex RW gene were twice as effective in protecting against root damage, or average, as hybrids with the YieldGard® Rootworm gene developed by Monsanto.

It has been long known that the common soil bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (BT), produces proteins with selective toxicity towards certain insect larvae. These proteins are found in crystals formed by the bacteria during a certain stage of their lifecycle. These are referred to as "Cry" proteins. Numerous studies have shown that Bt bacterial strains and their Cry proteins are harmless to humans, animals, non-target organisms, and the environment. Bt insecticidal proteins have been used for over 40 years in microbial sprays for crop protection, including organic farming operations, and since 1996, incoporated into biotech crops, with no documented report of adverse health effects.

Researchers have isolated the genes responsible for making the Cry proteins and transferred them into corn plants. Compared to conventional chemicals, plants expressing Cry proteins provide insect protection much more effectively because they deliver the insecticidal protein to the insect as it feeds on the plant, and generally are much more specific in activity than broad-spectrum insecticides.

In addition to insect protection, HXRW also provides protection against the herbicidal active ingredient glufosinate ammonium (e.g. in Liberty®) by the use of the protein phosphinotrycin acetyltransferase (PAT), which was obtained from the common soil bacterium Streptomyces viridochromogenes.

DuPont is committed to the safety of its products and complies with regulatory systems in each country where its products are sold. In accordance with U.S. federal agencies guidelines, HXRW has undergone extensive safety testing, for food, feed, and environmental safety. For more information on the regulatory processes in the U.S. and other countries, go to the Intro To Biotech section of this website.


Herculex Insect Protection technology by Dow AgroSciences and Pioneer Hi-Bred. ®Herculex is a registered trademark of Dow AgroSciences LLC.

® YieldGard and the YieldGard Rootworm design are registered trademarks used under license from Monsanto Company.

®LIBERTY and LibertyLink are registered trademarks of Bayer AG.