Eye On Safety, Govt Defers Gm Mustard Decision

The biotechnology regulator deferred a decision on allowing the cultivation of a genetically-modified (GM) hybrid mustard.

  • The Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC), asked the developer of the hybrid mustard — Centre for Genetic Manipulation of Crop Plants — at Delhi University, to provide some more information on bio-safety related data.

Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC)

  • The Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) is a body under the Environment Ministry that regulates the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

Details:

  • The GM variant, called DMH11 (Dhara Mustard Hybrid 11), is said to deliver 25-30 per cent higher mustard-seed yields compared to the best “check” varieties currently being grown in the country.
  • The hybrid went through Biosafety Research Level-1 (BRL-1) tests in 2011-12 and 2012-13, in Rajasthan, under the coordination of the National Research Centre for Rapeseed-Mustard at Bharatpur, and BRL-2 tests at the Indian Agriculture Research Institute in Delhi and the Punjab Agricultural University in the 2014-15 season.
  • In 2010, Bt brinjal had got the final approval from the GEAC but the then Environment Minister put an indefinite moratorium on that decision which still holds.
  • In the case of Mustard DMH11, the GEAC put off its decision by at least a few months.
  • The GEAC prepared a time-bound “roadmap” for taking a final decision on DMH11 mustard that involves holding public consultations as well.

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