Viewpoint: India should stop bowing to ‘mindless opposition’ and approve GMO Bt eggplant

Bt brinjals on the market

A couple of decades ago, some of our brightest gene scientists in India took the genes of a commonly found soil bacteria Bacillus thuringiensis to produce crops with proteins that repel specific pests (particularly the Fruit and Shoot Borer).

These plant proteins are entirely harmless to humans and most other animals. Such GM plants are prefixed with the symbol “Bt”. Two such crops produced by our scientists are Bt cotton and Bt brinjal.

Bt cotton was approved by the Indian regulator in the early 2000s. Today over 90 percent of cotton grown in India is genetically modified. Bt brinjal was also approved by the regulator (Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee) in 2009 after intensive testing but then things went badly wrong.

Related article:  Gene drives: How do we foster innovation without damaging ecosystems?

The ignorant anti-science UPA government gave into mindless opposition from irrational “environmental” fanatics to issue an indefinite moratorium on the use of Bt brinjal. This was a total violation of its constitutional duty and entirely unjustified. But the idea was to undertake further testing, which then never happened. Ten years later, the moratorium is still in place.

Read full, original article: The 2010 moratorium on Bt brinjal must go before 10 June 2019

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