GEAC approves commercial release of GM Mustard

The regulator brushed aside concerns that GM mustard could harm honeybees

New Delhi: The genetically modified (GM) mustard has been finally approved for commercial cultivation by India’s biotech regulator, the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC).
The hybrid varieties called Dhara Mustard Hybrid-11 (DMH-11) have been developed by Prof Deepak Pental, former Delhi University vice-chancellor in his lab and fields near the national capital.
The regulator brushed aside concerns that GM mustard could harm honeybees. The approval states: “Based on the examination of scientific evidence available globally, and as per the recommendations of concerned ministries, it seems unlikely that the bar, barnase, and barstar system will pose an adverse impact on honeybees and other pollinators.
“Therefore, the committee was of the view that GEAC may consider the environmental release of GE (genetically engineered) mustard and further evaluation to be carried out as per ICAR (Indian Council of Agricultural Research) guidelines.” it said.
Top scientists hail the decision of GEAC
“This is a highly desired move that will catalyze crop improvement effort using high end science, a much-needed strategy to meet nutritional needs,” said Rakesh Mishra, former director, CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB).
“The Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee of GOI has cleared the ‘environmental release’ of Genetically Modified (GM) mustard. This should pave the way for release of more such useful GM events in India. A great stride ahead, indeed,” said Dr Sudhanshu Vrati, Director, Regional Centre for Biotechnology, Faridabad.