You are on page 1of 5

Mrunal.o rg m runal.o rg http://mrunal.o rg/2012/08/sci-gm-cro p.


[Science] Genetically Modified Crops, Bt-Brinjal, Cartagena & Nagoya Protocol: Meaning, Issues
A guest article by Manikandan Soundararajan 1. What are DNA and Gene? 2. What do we need here? 3. What is the necessity f or GM technology? 4. Current issue: 5. Recommendations of the committee: 6. What is this GEAC: 7. Procedure to accord approval: 8. Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) 9. Cartagena Protocol on Biosaf ety (CPB) 10. Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benef it Sharing (ABS)

What are DNA and Gene?

Always a human gives birth to humans, and a baby is said to inherit his/her parents characters. T his is made possible only because of the so called genes. Genes are the books where all your personal, f amily characters are coded passed on to you f rom your parents. DNA is a polymer of nucleic acid specif ically deoxyribonucleic acid which is in turn is comprised of sugar component and nitrogenous base.there are 4 type of nitrogenous base that is adenine , guanine, cytosine and thiamine. It is the sequence of theses nitogenous bases that determine our genetic charecter. [courtsey- Ritesh's comment] DNA aids in protein synthesis. T heir expression gives you characters.

What do we need here?

Scientists have now mapped, analyzed these genes of various plants and animals. i.e., understood the ABC of gene make up Here now they are capable of manually rearranging these genes, inserting a part, deleting one changing the way one behaves, like stunted coconut trees giving coconuts at your arms stretch. Such organisms are called T RANSGENICS, transf ormed genetic make-up.

What is the necessity for GM technology?

Already a population of 7 billion and growing energetically. 3% increase in agri production needed to ensure f ood security to this population, while current

growth rate is only 2%. Stress on land resource already huge- use of insecticides, pesticides. 27% of worlds undernourished people proudly are Indians- Urgent need to f eed those hungry mouths. Else National shame will be the result- as our PM remarked on the HUNGAMA report. To address above problems GM aids the development of specif ic traits in crops like: 1. Herbicide resistance 2. Pest resistance 3. Viral resistance 4. slow-ripening 5. Fungal and bacterial resistance 6. Quality improvement (protein and oil) 7. Value addition (Vitamins, micro-and macro-elements) Ok then let us move quick into this akshayapaatra Hold on, every coin has one more side: Biosaf ety f irst concern Direct health ef f ects (toxicity) T he stability of the inserted gene Nutritional ef f ect associated with genetic modif ication Any unintended ef f ects which could result f rom the gene Insertion. Autonomy of f armers af f ected because the seeds of these tech crops are monopolized and are marketed by big private f irms. If he is unable/does not provide us the requisite seeds, we have a problem. Genetic erosion of our local varieties.

Bt Brijnal

Current issue:
In India it all started with Bt cotton and Bt Brinjal, regarding control, regulation, marketing production, saf ety of such crops.

Here the Bt ref ers to Bacillus thuringenesis soil bacterium f rom which the genes are introduced in to the native cotton and brinjal varieties. T he gene gave an expression in cotton which produced a protein in the cotton crop that was toxic to the boll worms and stem borers (pests) i.e., pest resistant variety. Now the issue with us already with many political parties, f armers complaining introduction such GM cotton, Brinjal(stopped af ter initial intro) as the cause f or increasing f armer suicides in Karnataka, Vidharbha region. High input cost of seeds, genetic erosion of local varieties, f armers dependence on private seed cos are said to be the reasons. In this scenario our parliamentary committee on Agriculture has submitted a report on CULTIVATION OF GENETICALLY MODIFIED FOOD CROPS PROSPECTS AND EFFECTS

Recommendations of the committee:

No GM f ood trials, till a stronger regulatory system is established. Current regulation by GEAC (Genetic Engineering appraisal committee) f lawed, GEAC under dept. of Biotech which has one of its aims to spread modern biotech. One cannot regulate his own product is the reports view. Farmers of cotton already under strain, new Bt cotton seeds are expensive, input costs high, yet f armers are lef t with zero choice. Strict labeling giving choice f or consumers to know what they buy is must. Especially imported f oods are now a concern.

What is this GEAC:

Established under MoEF, GEAC is the apex body to accord approval of activities involving large scale use of hazardous microorganisms and recombinants in research and industrial production f rom the environmental angle. GEAC is also responsible f or granting approvals relating to release of genetically engineered organisms and products into the environment including experimental f ield trials. T he GEAC also has the powers to prohibit, revoke, supervise and take punitive action in case of non-compliance, f urnishing of wrong inf ormation or in case of any damage to the environment.

Procedure to accord approval:

laboratory and greenhouse experiment, open f ield trials f or generation of biosaf ety data, commercialization and market approval Large scale production. International conventions related to this: T he committee report passes ref erences to all these conventions.

Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)

CBD is a legally binding agreement adopted during Rio Earth Summit in 1992. India signed the CBD and ratif ied it. USA is not a party to this Convention. While reaf f irming sovereign rights of nations over their natural resources, this Convention

establishes three goals: conservation of biological diversity, sustainable use of its components, and f air and equitable sharing of benef its arising f rom the use of genetic resources. India is hosting CoP-11 to the CBD to be held in Hyderabad in October 2012, which is the year of 20th anniversary of Rio Earth Summit is an added inf ormation.

Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (CPB)

T he CPB, the f irst international regulatory f ramework f or saf e transf er, handling and use of LMOs(living modif ied organisms) signed on 2000. India has acceded to this Biosaf ety Protocol. Dif f erence between LMO and GMO is that GMO is a broader term including LMOs within it, all organisms live, dead whose genes are modif ied are GMOs but LMO as the name suggests are living organisms which are genetically modif ied. T he objective of the Protocol is to contribute to ensuring an adequate level of protection in the f ield of the saf e transf er, handling and use of LMOs resulting f rom modern biotechnology that may have adverse ef f ects on the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity, taking also into account risks to human health, and specif ically f ocusing on trans-boundary movements. As a Party to the Protocol, the f irst and f oremost requirement is the setting up of a National Biosaf ety Regulatory Framework India has introduced the national biosaf ety rules even bef ore the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) was adopted at Rio de Janeiro in 1992. Even though the text of the Protocol has been adopted, several critical issues such as risk assessment, liability and redress, documentation and identif ication of LMOS f or Food Feed and Processing etc., are still under discussion.

Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS)

T he CoP-10 to the CBD held in Nagoya, Japan in October 2010 adopted the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benef it Sharing .India is a megadiverse country rich in biodiversity and associated traditional knowledge. Hence, implementation of the ABS provisions of CBD is of special interest to us. T he objective of Nagoya Protocol is the f air and equitable sharing of benef its arising f rom utilization of genetic resources. T he Protocol establishes a clear f ramework on how researchers and companies can obtain access to genetic resources and to associated traditional knowledge, and how benef its arising f rom the use of such material or knowledge will be shared with locals. T he ABS Protocol is expected to address the concerns of biodiversity rich countries such as India relating to misappropriation of genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge.

Ref erence:

Previous Posts
1. [Diplomacy] WIPO Treaty f or Visually Challenged, Patent vs Copyright dif f erence explained 2. [Science] T heHindu Dec12: Asteroid Mining, GRAIL, MoonKAMs, Liquiglide, Oraquick and more Science-Tech f or UPSC CSAT 3. [Science] No Touch Breastscan, Chemin, T LS, CFL vs Tubelight choke etc f rom T he Hindu S&T, Nov 2012 4. [Public Health] GeneXpert, Project Axshya, MALDI, Dermoscope, Bariatric Surgery, Neurostimulator 5. [Public Health] ENCODE, GPCR, LNT, Disease in Dish, RNT CP & other 2/5 markers f rom T he Hindu S&T (Sept-Oct 2012)

6. [Science] SCOAP3, Electronic Nose, Baxter, Lytro 7. [Science] PREDICCS, LCROSS, HXMT, Lif e on Mars (Space related S&T f rom Hindu Sept-Oct-2012) 8. [Science] Stem Cell Research, Controversy, Noble Prize 2012 9. [Public Health] Japanese Encephalitis Menace in India: Reasons, Prevention and control August 24th, 2012 | Tags: mani | Category: guest post, Science