Streamlined oversight could open the door to GM crops in India

CreditL M. Srinath via The Hindu

M.S. Swaminathan, a geneticists known as the Father of the Green Revolution in India, outlines in his op-ed today for the Hindu how regulation could help prompt the use of GM crops in India.

The Agricultural Biotechnology Committee — which I chaired in 2003 and which submitted its report early in 2004 — had recommended a Parliament approved regulatory agency as well as the necessary infrastructure for conducting all India coordinated trials with genetically modified organisms (GMO). The necessary precautions, such as the needed isolation as well as demonstration of the importance of refuge, should be undertaken under this project. As 10 years have passed since this recommendation was made, we should lose no further time in implementing it. There must be a trial and safety assessment system which answers the concerns of anti-GMO non-governmental organizations. The present moratorium on field trials with recombinant DNA material is a handicap as well as a disincentive in harnessing the benefits of the wide array of transgenic material available with various research organizations and universities. Many of the GMOs in the breeders’ assembly line have excellent qualities for resistance to biotic and abiotic stresses as well as improved nutrition. Much of this work has been done in institutions committed to public good. Also, much of the work has been done by young scientists, discouraged now because of the lack of a clear official signal on the future of genetic modification.

Related article:  Cognitive dissonance: Why some people ignore science and reject GMO safety

 Read the full article:  Regulating genetic modification

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