Epitope Inc. Beaverton, Ore., said Monday that its wholly ownedsubsidiary, Agritope Inc., started an open-ended, controlledfield test of transgenic tomato plants.

The cherry tomato plants being tested in Oregon wereengineered with a proprietary gene that improves ripeningcharacteristics by inhibiting the production of ethylene, thehormone that controls ripening, Epitope (ASE:EPT) said.

Calgene Inc. of Davis, Calif., last month filed for federalderegulation of its genetically engineered Flavr Savr tomato,which the company's Calgene Fresh Inc. subsidiary hopes tolaunch early next year.

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