Field trials of genetically modified mustard will begin in the rabi season

An official announced Monday that field trials of DMH-11, a GM mustard hybrid approved for ‘environmental release’ by the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC), would begin this rabi season.

The official stated that the trials will be conducted under the supervision of the ICAR Directorate of Rapeseed-Mustard Research (DRMR), located in Bharatpur, Rajasthan, according to the guidelines and rules of the Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR). It is the responsibility of the ICAR-DRMR to coordinate the All India Coordinated Research Projects on Rapeseed-Mustard in the country.

Dr. P.K. Rai, Director, ICAR-DRMR, told The Deccan Era that yield evaluation trials are conducted for a period of three years. The first trial is either a varietal trial or a hybrid trial. AHT (Advanced Hybrid Trial-1) is conducted when some entries produce a greater yield than the checks.

As far as DMH-11 is concerned, we will test it as an IHT (initial hybrid trial). We will conduct a small trial and perform all those checks. Trials will be conducted at some of the centers… let’s see if it qualifies for further promotion,” Rai explained, adding that the DRMR has received one kilogram of DMH-11 seed.

According to the ICAR rules and regulations, only those entries that have 10 per cent higher yield than check varieties and 5 per cent higher yield than check hybrids will be promoted.

Hybrid tests [for mustard] are conducted throughout the country at 16 locations. Rai said that the mustard crop can be sown until November 15 and that the DMH-11 will be planted in 6-7 locations. Sowing will begin in the next 4-5 days.

A recent recommendation of the GEAC, which falls under the Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change, was made for the environmental release of transgenic mustard hybrid DMH-11 and its parental lines “bn 3.6 and modbs 2.99” containing barnase, barstar, and bar genes.

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