BIOTECHNOLOGICAL Applications in Agriculture

 Genetically Modified ( GMO) food crops

1) Genetically modified ( GMO) food are food derived from organisms whose genetic material (DNA) has been modified in a way that does not occur naturally, e.g., through the introduction of a gene from a different organism.

2) GM crops were first commercially introduced in 1996 all over the world. Their popularity has skyrocketed since then.

i) Corn, cotton, and soybeans have been genetically modified to withstand insect pests and herbicides, and they are now widely cultivated in many regions of the world.

3) The Government of India approved Bt cotton as the only genetically modified (GM) crop for commercial production in 2002.

Significance of GM crops 

■  increased  Agricultural yield:  with a lower cost and lower labour input It has resulted in an increase in productivity and a decrease in cultivation costs.

■ Tolerance against herbicides and weeedicides: 
GM crops are designed to provide better crop security by introducing resistance to plant diseases caused by insects or viruses, as well as increased tolerance to herbicides.

■ Climate resilient:GM crops are more resistant to a variety of extreme environmental conditions, such as cold, heat, drought, salt, and so on.

■Reduced waste and cheaper food costs for the consumer due to improved processing features.

Case of Bt Cotton 

Bt toxin is produced by a bacterium called Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt)
Bollgard technology is about a genetic sequence from a microorganism called Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt).

■Bt toxin gene has been cloned from the bacteria and been expressed in plants to provide resistance to insects without the need for insecticides.

■B. thuringiensis forms protein crystals during a particular phase of their growth. These crystals contain a toxic insecticidal protein.

■The toxin is coded by a gene cryIAc named cry.

■There are several of them, for example, the proteins encoded by the genes cryIAc and cryIIAb control the cotton bollworms, that of cryIAb controls corn borer.

The commercial release of the GM mustard Dhara Mustard Hybrid 11 (DMH 11) created by Delhi University is pending since the GEAC has urged that thorough safety assessment data on environmental biosafety, particularly effects on beneficial insect species, be generated first.

1)It is a genetically modified hybrid variety of the mustard species Brassica juncea.

2)The transgenic mustard DMH - 11 was developed in 2002 using genetic material isolated from non-pathogenic soil bacteria

3)Three genes, Bar, Barnase and Barstar, were extracted from Bacillus amyloliquefaciens to produce the hybrid seed.

4)DMH - 11’s Glufosinate resistance is due to an enzyme expressed by the Bar (Bialaphos resistance) gene.

Bt Brinjal

1) Bt Brinjal is a transgenic brinjal developed by introducing the cry1Ac gene from the Bacillus thuringiensis soil bacterium into Brinjal.

2).This brinjal has been genetically modified to withstand insects like the Brinjal Fruit and Shoot Borer (Leucinodes orbonalis).

3) Maharashtra Hybrid Seeds Company created Bt Brinjal (Mahyco).

Golden Rice:

1) Golden Rice is a new form of rice that contains beta-carotene (provitamin A), which the body converts to vitamin A as needed and gives the grain its golden colour

2)It has been made possible by genetic engineering, and it produces two new enzymes that finish the beta-carotene expression in rice grains.

Terminator seed Technology 

1)The genetic alteration of plants to make them produce sterile seeds is known as Terminator seed technology.

2) Suicide seeds are another name for them.

3) Genetic Use Restriction Technologies is Terminator’s official name, as used by the UN and scientists (GURTs.


1)The Environment Protection Act of 1986 notified the rules governing the management of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and their products in 1989, with guidelines provided later.

2)The Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) functions in the Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change (MoEF&CC). As per Rules, 1989, it is responsible for the appraisal of activities involving large-scale use of hazardous microorganisms and recombinants in research and industrial production from the environmental angle.

3)The committee is also responsible for appraisal of proposals relating to release of genetically engineered (GE) organisms and products into the environment including experimental field trials.

●There are six authorities in total to deal with various areas of the regulation.

■The Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee,

■The Institutional Biosafety Committee,

■The Review Committee on Genetic Manipulation,

■The Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC),

■The State Biotechnology Coordination Committee, and the district level Committee.

Need  for Guidelines:

1)With a large population of over 135 crore and heterogeneous character of the country, India needs its own exclusive database for Indian Research and Solutions.

2)India ranks number 4 amongst the top 20 countries contributing biological databases.

3)The Government invests a large amount of public funds to generate data in various sectors, including in the biosciences for knowledge generation, to gain deep insights into intricate biological mechanisms and other processes and for translation.

Key provisions of the Guidelines 

1) Submission of Data :  The data generator/producer/ submitter is responsible for depositing data in an appropriate database in the informed Data Repository, according to the requirements.

2) withdrawal of data: If an individual or organization whose data has been placed on a publicly available database makes a justified request, either directly or through the submitter, with valid claims to the data, data withdrawal may be granted.

3) Implementing Agency: these Guidelines will be implemented through the Indian Biological Data Centre (IBDC) at the Regional Centre for Biotechnology supported by the Department of Biotechnology.

4) other Existing datasets/ data centers will be bridged to this IBDC which will be called Bio _ Grid.

5) This Bio _ Grid will be a National Repository forbiological knowledge,  , information and data and will be responsible for enabling its exchange, developing measures for safety, standards and quality for datasets and establishing detailed modalities for accessing data.

Three categories of data , handled by IBDC 

1) Open access data are ones that are intended to be freely shared by the data supplier.

2) Managed access data are those that are shared with the data producer/generator/submitter, imposing constraints.
3) No access  ‘Sensitive data’ cannot be accessed, even if it was created using public funds.


1) Information sharing : nables exchange of information to promote research and innovation in different research groups across the country.

2) Providing a well _ defined framework  and guiding principle to facilitate and enable sharing and exchange of biological knowledge, information and data and is specifically applicable to high-throughput, high-volume data generated by research groups across the country.

3) Will ensure data sharing benefits ciz. maximizing use ,avoiding duplication maximized integration ownership information, better decision-making, and equity of access.

■These guidelines are the enabling mechanism for sharing the data publicly and within a reasonable period after data-generation.

5) save the Public Money :  These guidelines will also be advantageous in avoiding duplication and wasteful expenditure of resources on research.

Sharing a wide range of large-scale data advances the understanding of the molecular and biological processes that will contribute to human health, in agriculture, animal husbandry, fundamental research and thus will extend to societal benefits.


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