BIOFORTIFICATION (Syllabus: GS Paper 3 – Sci and Tech)

News-CRUX-10     9th December 2023        
Samadhaan

Context: Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare recently informed the Parliament that since 2014, 142 biofortified varieties have been developed under aegis of the ICAR and they don’t have any impact on ecological conditions especially on soil and water.


Biofortification:

  • About: It is the process of improving the nutritional quality of food crops. This can be achieved through agronomic practices, conventional breeding or biotechnology-based approaches like genetic engineering and genome editing. Ex: Golden Rice.
  • Types:

oAgronomic biofortification: It describe the biofortification method in which deliberate application of mineral fertilization is carried out to increase the concentration of the desired micronutrients in the edible part of the crop to increase dietary intake.

oConventional breeding: It is a process of development of new varieties of crops by using older techniques and natural processes without using the latest molecular plant biological tools.

oTransgenic breeding: It refers to the genetic improvement of crop plants in relation to various economic traits useful for human beings by means of genetic engineering tools.

oGenetic engineering: It is a process of using the recombinant DNA technology to alter the genetic make-up of an organism.


  • Genetic modification (GM) technology
  • About: It allows the transfer of genes for specific traits between species. It embeds a new trait which does not occur naturally in the species using laboratory techniques.
  • In India: GEAC cleared the cultivation of BT cotton in 2002. This is the only GM crop approved for cultivation in India till date. 
  • Approval: In India, the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) is the apex body that allows for the commercial release of GM crops. 
Samadhaan