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Growers are seeking permission from the U.S government to genetically modify soybeans to be lower in saturated fat. (Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press)

The soybean industry is seeking U.S. government approval of a genetically modified soybean that it says will produce oil lower in saturated fat, offering consumers a healthier alternative and increasing demand for growers' crops.

Demand for soybean oil has dropped sharply since 2005, when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration began requiring labels to list levels of trans fats.

Monsanto Co. says its new soybean, called Vistive Gold, eliminates trans fats, which have been linked to coronary disease and reduces saturated fat.

Iowa soybean farmer Jim Andrew says he hopes the new soybean will ease fears about biotech crops by providing a direct health benefit.

But the Center for Food Safety says the new soybean didn't undergo rigorous enough testing, a claim Monsanto rejects.