Make public bio-safety data on Genetically Modified Organisms: CIC

Posted on:08 Apr 2016 17:50:35
Make public bio-safety data on Genetically Modified Organisms: CIC
08 April 2016 Current Affairs: The Chief Information Commission (CIC) on 1 April 2016 directed the GEAC to make public the non-confidential bio-safety information on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs).The direction is aimed at enhancing transparency in the regulatory approval process and applicable to all GMOs in the pipeline includingGM mustard variety - DMH11.As per the direction, the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC), the apex regulatory body for GMOs, has to keep all the relevant data in the public domain by 30 April 2016.However, the disclosure of intellectual property data was exempted from such disclosure.GMOs can be defined as organisms like plants, animals or microorganisms in which the genetic material (DNA) has been altered in a way that does not occur naturally by mating and/or natural recombination. GM foods are produced – and marketed – because there is some perceived advantage either to the producer or consumer of these foods. This is meant to translate into a product with a lower price, greater benefit (in terms of durability or nutritional value) or both.However, the GMOs attracted much criticism on various grounds including environment, public health, cost-benefit analysis, technological hurdles, monopoly of multinational companies, etc.Though the hybrid varieties are generally known to produce greater yields but they necessitate farmers to keep going to seed companies every year to buy fresh seed. DMH11 : It has been developed by Deepak Pental, a geneticist at the Delhi University, with support from the National Dairy Development Board and the Department of Biotechnology.The technology involves using a complex of genes, sourced from soil bacterium, which makes it easier for seed developers to easily develop hybrid varieties of mustard, generally a self pollinating plant.This new variety is expected to contribute to increasing yields of up to 25 percent compared to existing varieties.Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee is India’s apex regulatory body under the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC). It looks after approval of activities involving large scale use of hazardous microorganisms and recom­binants in research and industrial production from the environ­mental angle.It is also responsible for ap­proval of proposals relating to release of genetically engineered organisms and products into the environment including experimen­tal field trials. At present, GM cotton is the only GM crop commercially available in farmer fields. Since its introduction in India in 2002, it is grown in such quantities that India is the world’s fourth-biggest GM-crop producer, behind the United States, Brazil and Argentina.In July 2014, it gave the green signal for field trials of GM rice, mustard, cotton, chickpea and brinjal.

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