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CONTAMINATION & COEXISTENCE: Indian Ministries join hands to fight out genetic contamination




                                  PART 1


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TITLE:  MINISTRIES JOIN HANDS TO FIGHT OUT GENETIC CONTAMINATION

SOURCE: The Financial Express, India

AUTHOR: Ashok B. Sharma

URL:    http://www.financialexpress.com/news/Ministries-join-hands-to-fight-out-genetic-contamination/209504/

DATE:   09.08.2007

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MINISTRIES JOIN HANDS TO FIGHT OUT GENETIC CONTAMINATION

New Delhi, Aug 9 In view of the recent controversy over genetic contamination, owing to field trials and commercial cultivation of genetically modified (GM) crops in the country, the science and technology ministry has offered to resolve the issue. It would work with the agriculture ministry in formulating standards for genetic contamination of various crops. The Supreme Court, in its recent order, had asked the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) to set up a protocol for detecting 0.01% level of genetic contamination. It said that the field trials of GM crops should ensure that genetic contamination should not be above 0.01%. ”We are working with the agriculture ministry in setting up the standards for genetic contamination of various crops,” said the S&T minister, Kapil Sibal told FE National economic benefits, including carbon credits, by use of biopesticides and biofertilisers would be assessed by October 2007. S&T ministry would prepare a working paper and plan for rejuvenating tea industry in north India by October 2007 Sibal on Thursday announced time-bound programmes for reinvigorating Indian agriculture through science and technology.



                                  PART 2

------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:  MLRT FOR TEN CROPS INCLUDING BT COTTON AND BT BRINJAL

SOURCE: Press Information Bureau, Government of India, India

AUTHOR: Ministry of Environment and Forests, India, Press Release

URL:    http://64.233.183.104/search?q=cache:5xLGTRMuCCEJ:pib.nic.in/release/release.asp%3Frelid%3D30031+%22MLRT+FOR+TEN+CROPS+INCLUDING+BT+COTTON+AND+BT+BRINJAL%22&hl=de&ct=clnk&cd=1&client=safari

DATE:   17.08.2007

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MLRT FOR TEN CROPS INCLUDING BT COTTON AND BT BRINJAL

COMBINATION OF PHYSICAL AND BIOLOGICAL CONTAINMENT MEASURES TO MAINTAIN GENETIC PURITY AT HIGHEST LE

Ten GM crops including Brinjal and Bt cotton have been awarded field trials with respect to uniform isolation distance of 50 to 1000 meters. Recently concluded 79th meeting of Genetically Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) accepted the recommendations of the sub-committee for Multi Location Research Trials (MLRT) considering the pattern of pollinating agents, nature of pollination and additional bio-safety measures.

Scientifically, a uniform isolation distance is not tenable as the nature of the pollen flow and levels of contamination depends on the biology of the crop and the host environment in which it is being cultivated. Hence each crop needs unique isolation distance. Along with this, additional bio-safety measures have been prescribed case to case basis. The combination of physical and biological containment measures are adequate to maintain the genetic purity at the highest possible levels, the committee believes.

The much awaited Brinjal will have MLRT now with additional bio-safety measure of 300 meter distance between two acres of trials. Brinjal is a self pollinated crop and its pollinating crop and its pollinating agents are insects. Permission has been accorded to conduct MLRT of four transgenic Bt Brinjal, namely Co2-Bt, MDU1-Bt, KKM1-Bt and PLR1-Bt containg cry1Ac gene (EE1 event) at five locations. They are, Horticultural College and Research Institute - each at coimbtore and Peryakilam, Agricultural College and Research Institute each at Madurai and Killikulam and Vegetable Research Station at Palur. This trials will be conducted during June-September this year and January – April next year. They will help in evaluating their Agronomic performances and efficacy in controlling fruit and shoot borer and the effect of beneficial insects by Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TANU), Coimbtore. The name of lead scientist responsible for the trial will have to be submitted to Review Committee on Genetic Manipulation (RCGM)/GEAC before undertaking the trials.

MLRT of Brinjal, okra and tomatoes will have to put the insect proof net covering which will restrict insects behaviour and affect agronomic yield. The height of the net cover has to be 1 -1.5 meter above the plant height. The pollinating agents for okra, brinjal and tomatoes are insects.

The prescribed minimum isolation distance is 50 meter for groundnut and the maximum is 1000 meter for castor.

 

Adequate biosafety during the conduct of field trials for GM crops

Crop

a) Nature of pollination

b) Pollinating agent (s)

c) Minimum isolation (m) prescribed in IMSCS@

d) Isolation (m) recommended by the Sub Committee

e) Additional biosafety measures recommended by theSub Committee

1. Cotton

Often   cross pollinated   Insects   50   200   -

2. Rice

Self   Wind   200   200   Physical barrier around the crop of ~ 700 gauge thick polythene or similar material upto 2 m height.

3. Okra*

Cross   Insects   500   500*   *Trial to be conducted under the insect proof net covering

4. Groundnut

Self   -   3   10   -

5. Potato

Self   -   5 (tubers)   50 (TPS)   100   -

6. Tomato

Self   Solitary bee, thrips   200   200   As in Okra

7. Brinjal

Self   Insects   300   300   As in Okra

8. Castor

Cross   Wind   600 (Hybrid)   1000 (Female)   1000   -

9. Cauliflower & Cabbage

Cross   Bees   1600   200   To be harvested at curd maturity stage

10. Mustard & Rapeseed (Oilseed brassicas)

Self Cross   Bees   100   50-100   -

 

The requirement of a validated event specific protocol at an LOD of at least 0.01% will be dispensed with. Prior to commercial release/expert requir4ements, the LOD may be decided at levels that are practical to use, compatible with the acceptable threshold for labeling purposes and the genome size of the crop.

MLRT for New Events will not be allowed to conduct in farmer’s fields. They will be conducted minimum at one location and maximum at two locations in each state. RCGM made it mandatory to undertake these and strip trials by companies/institutions either in their own premises, research farms, long lease lands or at the State Agriculture Universities (SAU) /Indian Council of Agricultural Research ( ICAR ) institutions.

MLRT of Bt-cotton expressing approved genes/events, Bt cotton hybrids, transgenic cotton hybrids and others have been approved.


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