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GM Mustard

GS Paper 3

Syllabus: GS3: Science & Technology: Awareness in the fields of Biotechnology


Source: The Hindu; Indian Express; Down to Earth

Direction: This is in continuation of the previously given FFP on GM Mustard.

Context:  The Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) under the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change recommended the “environmental release” of the transgenic hybrid mustard DMH-11 for seed production and conduct of field demonstration studies with respect to its effects, if any, on honey bees and other pollinating insects.


Dhara Mustard Hybrid (DMH-11):

Dhara Mustard Hybrid- 11( DMH- 11), was developed by Deepak Pental of Delhi University, through transgenic technology, in 2002. DMH – 11 was created through transgenic technology, primarily involving the Bar, Barnase and Barstar gene systems.

  • DMH-11 by crossing a popular Indian mustard variety ‘Varuna’ (the barnase line) with an East European ‘Early Heera-2’ mutant (barstar).
  • DMH-11 is claimed to have shown an average 28% yield increase over Varuna in contained field trials carried out by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR).


Cleared by GEAC, what next?

  • The GEAC had cleared the proposal in 2017, but the Environment Ministry vetoed (refused) it and suggested that the GEAC hold more studies on the GM crop.
  • Now on October 18, GEAC allowed the environmental release of two varieties of genetically engineered mustard.
  • So that it can be used for developing new parental lines and hybrids under the supervision of the Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR).
  • Field demonstration studies on the effect of GE mustard on honey bees and other pollinators were also permitted.
  • Now the Union government will take the final call on whether to allow it for commercial cultivation.
  • Commercial use of DMH-11 will be subject to the Seed Act and related rules and regulations.

Fig. Arguments for & against GM Crops


Insta Links:

Prelims Link:

  1. About GM Mustard – DMH – 11
  2. About GEAC
  3. About Transgenic Technology

Mains question:

Q. It is argued that genetically modified crops can solve the myriad challenges associated with Indian agriculture. Discuss in light of GEAC’s approval of the environmental release of GM Mustard. (250 words)