New Delhi: The threat of misuse of biotechnology by unscrupulous terrorists by using it to create unwanted biological entities also known as biological warfare has never been high like the current times. Therefore, the need for national-level guidelines for each country of this world that has got potential to genetically engineer organisms was felt as early as1972 when the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) was opened for all nations to join in.
A draft of the BWC, submitted by the British was opened for signature on 10 April 1972 and entered into force 26 March 1975 when twenty-two governments had deposited their instruments of ratification. Currently, there are 179 parties and 109 signatories to the convention.
In accordance with its commitment for biosafety laws followed across the world, India too has come up with its regulations and guidelines on biosafety of recombinant DNA research and biocontainment, 2017 that was released during 2017-Meeting of States Parties of the BWC at Geneva, Switzerland on 5th December 2017.
In view of the recent developments in the field of biotechnology, biosafety and biosecurity, and experience gained while implementing the biosafety frameworks within the country, a new guideline on ‘Regulations and guidelines on biosafety of recombinant DNA research and biocontainment, 2017’ has been prepared by Review Committee on Genetic Manipulation (RCGM), Department of Biotechnology, New Delhi.
Adoption of the regulations and guidelines on biosafety of recombinant DNA research & biocontainment 2017 shall be binding for all public and private organizations involved in research, development and handling of GE organisms.