Genetically modified (GM) crops in India

What is a Genetically modified (GM) crop ?

Genetically modified crops (GMCs, GM crops, or biotech crops) are plants used in agriculture whose DNA has been modified using genetic engineering methods, to introduce a new trait to the plant which does not occur naturally in the species.

Most GM crops are developed to achieve one or more of traits like: resistance to certain pests, diseases, or environmental conditions, reduction of spoilage, or resistance to chemical treatments, or improving the nutrient profile of the crop.

Genetically modified (GM) crops also have few disadvantages including, environmental impacts, food safety, accessible to farmers in developing countries and concerns related to intellectual property laws.

Genetically modified (GM) crop in India

India holds 5th largest area under Genetically modified crop, while United States have highest area under transgenic crops.

India's entire GM crop area is under a single crop - "cotton". Genetically modified cotton incorporate genes from the Bacillus thuringiensis or Bt soil bacterium coding for resistance against heliothis bollworm insect pests.

Apart from the already commercialised Bt/insect-resistant cotton, glyphosate-tolerant cotton and biotech hybrid mustard are also regulatory consideration in India. Their commercial release has, however, been stuck due to opposition from environmental activists.

Despite disliking of government and green NGOs an indication of demand for GM technology among Indian farmers.

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