Dhara Mustard Hybrid-11

Dhara Mustard Hybrid-11

Dhara Mustard Hybrid-11

#GS-03 Science and Technology, Biodiversity

For Prelims:

About Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC):

  • Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) is the apex regulator of genetically modified plants and food products in the country.
  • It functions under the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC).
  • GEAC is chaired by the Special Secretary/Additional Secretary of MoEF&CC and co-chaired by a representative from the Department of Biotechnology (DBT).
  • Presently, it has 24 members and meets every month to review the applications in the areas indicated above.
The functions of GEAC as prescribed in the Rules 1989 are as follows:
  • To appraise activities involving large scale use of hazardous microorganisms and recombinants in research and industrial production from the environmental angle.
  • To appraise proposals relating to release of genetically engineered organisms and products into the environment including experimental field trials.
  • The committee or any persons authorized by it has powers to take punitive action under the Environment Protection Act.

About Dhara Mustard Hybrid-11:

  • Dhara Mustard Hybrid (DMH-11) is an indigenously developed transgenic mustard.
  • It is a genetically modified variant of Herbicide Tolerant (HT) mustard.
  • It contains two alien genes (‘barnase’ and ‘barstar’) isolated from a soil bacterium called Bacillus amyloliquefaciens that enable breeding of high-yielding commercial mustard hybrids.
  • DMH-11 is a result of a cross between two varieties: Varuna and Early Heera-2.
  • Barnase in Varuna induces a temporary sterility because of which it can’t naturally self-pollinate.
  • Barstar in Heera blocks the effect of barnase allowing seeds to be produced.
  • It has been developed by the Centre for Genetic Manipulation of Crop Plants (CGMCP) at Delhi University.

For Mains:

The need of GM Mustard:

  • Trials conducted over three years by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) suggest that DMH-11 has 28% higher yields than its parent Varuna.
  • In 2020-21, around 13.3 million tonnes of edible oil were imported at a cost of ₹1,17,000 crore according to the National Academy of Agricultural Sciences.
  • This is primarily due to low productivity — of about 1-1.3 tonnes/hectare — that has been stagnant for over two decades.
  • GM mustard would make India self-reliant in oil production and help in saving forex.