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2-Plants: Indian authority rejected new Bt cotton application

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TITLE:  Regulator Says No To Bt Cotton Cultivation
SOURCE: The Financial Express, India
DATE:   Apr 25, 2003

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Regulator Says No To Bt Cotton Cultivation

New Delhi, April 25: The Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC),
unanimously rejected the proposal for commercial cultivation in north
India of a new variety of Bt cotton developed by Mahyco Seed Company in
collaboration with Monsanto. It called for more field trials for
genetically modified (GM) mustard seeds developed by ProAgro in
collaboration with Aventis & PGS.

The 36th meeting of the GEAC presided over by its chairperson Sushma
Choudhary on Friday deliberated for over two and half hours and came to
the conclusion that "cultivation of the new Bt cotton, Mech 915 in
Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and western Uttar Pradesh should not be
allowed as this variety is highly sensitive to the leaf curl virus. Leaf
curl virus is common in the regions bordering Pakistan. It affects the
yield of cotton and can affect other crops in the region as it is easily
carried by white flies".

The local varieties of cotton grown in region are resistant to leaf curl
virus as compared to Bt Cotton, Mech 915. It has been assessed that Mech
915 is sensitive to leaf curl virus by 56 per cent on an average and by
92 per cent in certain cases.

Regarding GM mustard seeds developed by ProAgro in collaboration with
Aventis & PGS, the panel was of the view that that the results of the
field trials conducted so far under the supervision of Indian Council of
Agricultural Research in four locations of the country were not
conclusive. Further field trials under Icar supervisions are necessary
"to assess the agronomic superiority, if any, effects of crossability and
pollen transfer and resistance to herbicides."