Genetically modified Seeds (GM Seeds)
- June 11, 2020
- Posted by: admin1
- Category: DPN Topics
Subject: Science and tech
There is allegation that farmers might undertake mass sowing of GM seeds for maize, soyabean, mustard, brinjal and herbicide tolerant (Ht) cotton in upcoming kharif season
- In conventional plant breeding, species of same genus are crossed to provide the offspring with the desired traits of both parents.
- Genetic engineering aims to transcend the genus barrier by introducing an alien gene in the seeds to get the desired effects.
- The alien gene could be from a plant, an animal or even a soil bacterium
- Bt cotton is the only GM crop allowed in India. It has two alien genes from the soil bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) that allows the crop to develop a protein toxic to the common pest pink bollworm.
- HtBt, on the other, cotton is derived with the insertion of an additional gene, from another soil bacterium, which allows the plant to resist the common herbicide glyphosate.
- BT Brinjal and GM mustard are waiting for approval
- Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) is the apex body that allows for commercial release of GM crops.
- It had allowed the commercial release of Bt cotton in 2002. At present, more than 95 per cent of the country’s cotton areas come under Bt cotton.
- Use of the unapproved GM variant can attract a jail term of 5 years and fine of Rs 1 lakh under the Environmental Protection Act ,1989.
- The Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) functions in the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC).
- It is responsible for appraisal of activities involving large scale use of hazardous microorganisms and recombinants in research and industrial production from the environmental angle.
- The committee is also responsible for appraisal of proposals relating to release of genetically engineered (GE) organisms and products into the enviornment including experimental field trials.
- GEAC is chaired by the Special Secretary/Additional Secretary of MoEF&CC and co-chaired by a representative from the Department of Biotechnology (DBT). Presently, it has 24 members and meets every month to review the applications in the areas indicated above.