Biotechnology - #SectorUpdates
India’s biotech regulator, the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC), has approved genetically modified (GM) mustard for commercial cultivation, paving the way for the country’s first transgenic food crop, nearly 15 years after its invention. The decision is “great for the country” because GM mustard would bring “better yields and lower costs for farmers”, said Deepak Pental, former Delhi University Vice-Chancellor and the scientist behind GM mustard, technically called Dhara Mustard Hybrid-11 (DMH-11). The partially state-funded project costs ₹70 crores in all, from lab to field trials. The approval is for a limited period of four years and is renewable for two years at a time based on the compliance report. However, GM technologies have been resisted by some activists, amid fears that they could compromise food security, lead to seed monopolies and become biosafety hazards.