Genetically Modified Crops
- Three crops have been granted permission for the genetic modification: mustard, Brinjal, and potato.
- Extensive field trials and the production of seeds await them. Brinjal is the first to get approval from GEAC. The only other genetically modified crop allowed in the country is Bt cotton.
- GEAC stands for Genetic Engineering Approval Committee. A genetically modified food crop developed by seed company Mahyco is Bt brinjal which is ready for large-scale field trials and production of seeds. But the permit faces fierce opposition from environmentalists, farmers, and consumer groups of the nation, who are scared that genetically modified crops will have health risks.
- Mahyco has a license for four Bt brinjal hybrids mhb 4Bt, mhb 9Bt, mhb 80 Bt, and mhb 99Bt. The hybrids have completed biosafety tests successfully.
- In anti-GM groups, the coalition has given scientific validation and evidence proposing potential health risks associated with Bt brinjal. Cry 1 ac Bt toxin, used in Bt brinjal, is a potent immunizing agent that actively binds to mammalian intestinal cells.
- Concerns exist that the promoter could reactivate dormant viruses and cause health problems like cancer.
What are genetically modified crops?
Genetically modified plants add a specific DNA stretch to a plant's genome, providing new or different characteristics. GM-Mustard, BT Brinjal, and Potato are some examples.