National Botanical Research Institute has claimed to have developed whitefly-resistant cotton. The CSIR-NBRI research has been accepted by international journal ‘Nature’ for publication. NBRI will also be signing an MoU with Punjab Agricultural University [in October] for field trials of the technology.
The whitefly damages 10 – 30% crop productivity, which may exceed to even 100%. “The entire research have been conducted at NBRI without any international support. The genetically modified cotton prevents whitefly attack but doesn’t have any harmful effect on beneficial insects like ladybird beetle,” said scientist PK Singh who led the research. “International acceptance came in the form of ‘Nature’ putting it online on Monday. The journal would publish it soon,” he added.
The team of scientists isolated an anti-whitefly gene named TMA12 from a fern. This fern has been maintained in NBRI garden for the past 50 years. “The anti-whitefly gene isolated from fern was introduced in cotton. The gene of the fern made genetically modified (GM) cotton resistant to whitefly,” he added.
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