Himachal against Bt Brinjal

Shimla: Himachal Pradesh has refused to introduce Bt Brinjal for the time being in the state as trials on assessing its harmful effects on health, environment and ecology have not been conclusively conducted. Therefore, until satisfactory answers for various questions are obtained state govt. will not introduce Bt Brinjal in its land.

The India government’s Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC), which cleared Bt Brinjal for commercial release in October, said it will reduce the farmers’ dependence on pesticides.

Bt Brinjal is a transgenic brinjal created by inserting a gene [Cry 1Ac] from the soil bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis into Brinjal. The insertion of the gene into the Brinjal cell in young cotyledons has been done through an Agro bacterium-mediated vector, along with other genes like promoters, markers etc. This is said to give the Brinjal plant resistance against lepidopteron insects like the Brinjal Fruit and Shoot Borer (Leucinodes orbonalis) and Fruit Borer (Helicoverpa armigera). It is reported that upon ingestion of the Bt toxin by the insect, there would be disruption of digestive processes, ultimately resulting in the death of the insect.

Bt Brinjal is being developed in India by M/s Mahyco [Maharashtra Hybrid Seeds Company].

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