GM CROPS (Syllabus: GS Paper 3 – Sci and Tech)

News-CRUX-10     18th January 2024        
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Context: Recently, the government assured the Supreme Court that it remains steadfast in its commitment to the safe use of genetically-modified (GM) crops, emphasizing that robust evaluation systems are currently in place.

oBt cotton was approved in 2002 after an elaborate safety-assessment exercise spanning over seven years.

Genetically Modified Crops

  • About: It can be defined as organisms (i.e., plants, animals or microorganisms) in which the genetic material (DNA) has been altered in a way that does not occur naturally by mating and/or natural recombination. 
  • Technology called:  Modern biotechnology” or “gene technology”.
  • Aim: To overcome the boundaries of plant species by incorporating a foreign gene into seeds to achieve specific effects; this foreign gene may originate from a plant, an animal, or even a soil bacterium.
  • GM crops in India: BT cotton, BT Brinjal, DMH 11 Mustard.

oBT cotton is the only genetically modified (GM) crop that has been approved for commercial cultivation in India.

  • Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC): It is the apex body that allows for the commercial release of GM crops.

Advantages Of GM Crops

  • Climate change resistant: GM crops are disease and drought resistant plants that require fewer environmental resources (such as water and fertilizer).
  • Faster Growth & Less resources: Less use of pesticides aided with faster growing plants and animals.
  • Higher Production: Increased supply of food with reduced cost and longer shelf life. DMH-11 has an average of 20-25% more yield than the currently used mustard seeds.