DNA Plant Technology Inc. (DNAP) said Monday that the U.S.Department of Agriculture granted non-regulated status to itsdelayed-ripening tomato, meaning the Oakland, Calif. company nowis free to sell its first genetically engineered product in the U.S.

DNAP plans to test market the tomato in upstate New York in Marchunder the FreshWorld Farms Endless Summer brand name. Thecompany plans a regional roll-out later this year, likely in the fall andin the East, where DNAP has distribution strength, Ellen Martin, thecompany's director of communications, told BioWorld.

The tomato was engineered to suppress production of the ACCsynthase gene and thus ethylene, the hormone that causes ripening.The Endless Summer tomato is a modified version of a proprietaryvariety marketed by DNAP since 1993 under the FreshWorld Farmsname. That product is being distributed in more than 1,500 grocerystores in the East and Midwest, the company said.

Martin said four other DNAP products are in the beginning of theFDA's review process: another tomato, a cherry tomato, sweet peaand bell pepper.

Calgene Inc., of Davis, Calif., last year got approval for itsgenetically altered tomato, Flavr Savr, which was the first fruit orvegetable to gain non-regulated status.

DNAP's stock (NASDAQ:DNAP) was down 13 cents per shareMonday, closing at $2.88. _ Jim Shrine

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