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GEAC gives nod for GM mustard
May 17, 2017

Why in news:

 India’s regulator for transgenic products approved the commercial release of genetically modified (GM) mustard, paving the way for a new technology for farmers.

GM Mustard and related fact:

GM Mustard is developed by a public research institute (Delhi University’s Centre for Genetic Manipulation of Plant Crops), a counter to the opposition’s fear of monopolistic practices and takeover of seed businesses by large corporations.

Objection to GM justified?

  • GM technology has already been commercialised in India through Bt cotton, which is also based on incorporation of foreign genes derived from a soil bacterium, Bacillus thuringiensis. While there are fierce opponents of it, it is also a fact that the country’s cotton production has gone up more than 2½ times since Bt hybrids were first planted in 2002. Nor has any evidence emerged really of Bt cotton causing any adverse human or animal health effects. 
  • The opponents of GM mustard point out that cotton is not a food crop, while mustard is India’s largest edible oil-yielding crop. However, there are many inconsistencies in this argument too. First, cotton-seed yields not only fibre (lint), but also oil and oilcake (meal) fed to animals. Cotton-seed oil is, in fact, the second largest produced edible oil in the country (1.4 million tonnes) after mustard (2 million tonnes). That makes cotton no less of a food crop. And since 95 per cent of India’s cotton production is today Bt, its allegedly harmful toxins would already have been consumed directly or indirectly during the last decade and more. 
  • Secondly, India annually imports 3 million tonnes of soyabean oil and another 0.4 million tonnes of rapeseed oil, which are predominantly GM. 
  • Also, in this case, the developer is a government-funded institution, as opposed to Bt cotton which was the proprietary technology of a multinational, namely Monsanto. 

What is Genetically modified Organism

A GMO (genetically modified organism) is the result of a laboratory process where genes from the DNA of one species are extracted and artificially forced into the genes of an unrelated plant or animal. 

The key steps involved in genetic engineering are identifying a trait of interest, isolating that trait, inserting that trait into a desired organism, and then propagating that organism. Methods for genetic manipulation have rapidly improved over the last century from simple selective breeding, to inserting genes from one organism into another, to more recent methods of directly editing the genome.

All about GMOS:

 Cmos

Source:https://visualismdotorg.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/gmo-infographic-v2-10-25-2012.png

What GEAC:

The Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) is the apex body constituted in the Ministry of Environment and Forests under 'Rules for Manufacture, Use, Import, Export and Storage of Hazardous Microorganisms/Genetically Engineered Organisms or Cells 1989', under the Environment Protection Act, 1986. 

GEAC


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