GS Paper 3
Syllabus: GS3: Science & Technology: Awareness in the fields of Biotechnology
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
- About GM Mustard – DMH – 11
- About GEAC
- About Transgenic Technology
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)