Bt Brinjal Cultivation
Why is it in News?
A legal notice to the Union Environment Minister has been sent by Prashant Bhushan, asking for a freeze on all genetically modified organisms, including field trials after reports of illegal Bt Brinjal cultivation in Haryana were cited.
About Bt Brinjal:
- Grown on nearly 550,000 hectares, it makes India the second largest producer of Brinjal after China with a 26% world production share.
- Brinjal is vulnerable to damage from insect pests and diseases, the most serious and ruinous of which is the fruit and shoot borer (FSB) Leucinodesorbonalis.
- Bt Brinjal, India’s First Vegetable Biotech Crop, consists of an insecticidal protein, called ‘cry1ac’ gene sourced from the genes of the soil bacterium, Bacillus thuringiensis which confers resistance against FSB.
- Its commercial release was sanctioned by the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee under the Environment Ministry in 2009, but then its release was halted by the then Union Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh in February 2010 and it was banned indefinitely. Cultivation of Bt Brinjal is illegal in India.
Pros & Cons of Bt Brinjal:
- The use of pesticides and costs will go down, yield of Brinjal will increase.
- The impact on human health and environment is not clear, introducing Bt Brinjal will open gates for other genetically-modified crops.