GM Mustard is irreversible
- January 25, 2023
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN Topics
GM Mustard is irreversible
Subject : Science and Technology
Section: Biotech Technology
Context: What if risk of commercial release of GM Mustard is irreversible, Supreme Court asks government.
More about the News:
- What if risk of commercial release of GM Mustard is irreversible, Supreme Court asks government.
- Government says the risks are known and the approval given would not be blanket, but subject to specific conditions which cover every scenario or aspect of risk.
- It is argued that regulatory system under the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) which cleared the environmental release of Dhara Mustard Hybrid-11 (DMH-11), a genetically-engineered variant of mustard, was “horrendous” and riddled with conflict of interest.
- Department of Biotechnology had funded DMH 11 and then was part of the regulatory mechanism. The environmental release of the hybrid mustard variety was cleared despite warnings from the Parliamentary Committee and the Supreme Court’s Technical Expert Committee report calling for its ban.
- Besides, the government had not placed the biosafety dossier on the GM crop in the public domain.
About Genetically Modified Mustard (DMH-11):
- The full form of DMH is Dhara Mustard Hybrid. It is a genetically modified crop.
- It carries a gene for herbicide resistance. i.e herbicide tolerant.
- It has been developed by scientists from the Centre for Genetic Manipulation of Crop Plants (CGMCP), Delhi University.
- They developed the hybrid containing two alien genes isolated from a soil bacterium called Bacillus amyloliquefaciens.
- The barnase-barstar GM technology was deployed to develop DMH-11. The researchers a popular Indian mustard variety ‘Varuna’ (the barnase line) with an East European ‘Early Heera-2’ mutant (barstar).
- It contains 3 important genes Bargene, Barnase and Barstar, all derived from soil bacterium.
Concerns associated with GM Mustard:
- There is also an apprehension that the seeds of this crop cannot be used for regeneration. Hence, the farmers need to buy new seeds every time they want to grow the crops.
- There is also a likelihood that these crops could lead to disruption in species diversity.
- The most evident outcome of these crops is the spread of herbicide-resistant weeds across large tracts of agricultural land. This can lead to catastrophe in the long run.
- Various studies reveal that introduction of herbicide-resistant or HT crops had led to adverse impacts on the environment. This outcome had been noticed in several countries like the US, Australia, Canada and Argentina.
- Seeds of GM crops in general are produced only by a handful of companies. Such a monopoly can lead to seed buyers having few choices and price manipulation by corporations.
- There is the ethical question of whether it is correct to violate natural organisms’ intrinsic values by mixing among species.
About Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee
- Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) is the appraisal body that allows for commercial release of GM crops.
- 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.
- 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.
- GEAC is chaired by the Special Secretary/Additional Secretary of MoEF&CC and co-chaired by a representative from the Department of Biotechnology (DBT).