Monsanto Co has set up a new business unit to help create new cotton varieties for American farmers.

The unit, called Cotton States, will develop and license genes from various cotton genetic providers for use by seed companies and distributors. It also plans to introduce new products, including Roundup Ready Flex cotton, alongside Monsanto's existing biotech cottons such as Bollgard, Roundup Ready cotton and Bollgard II insect-protected cotton.

Mark Edge, who will lead the unit at St Louis-based Monsanto, said in a statement. "Cotton States will enhance Monsanto's ability to successfully introduce new cutting-edge technologies into leading germplasm and that means the latest technological advances in cotton will be made available to seed companies."