11 March 2017 Current Affairs: Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) has developed the first genetically modified (Bt) cotton seeds that can be reused, resulting in saving of input cost to farmers.
The new cotton variety is among few others identified by Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) for cultivation in North region. The three Bt cotton varieties include PAU Bt 1, F1861 and RS 2013. PAU Bt 1 and F 1861 were developed by PAU, whereas, RS 2013 was developed at Rajasthan Agricultural University (RAU), Bikaner. While the PAU Bt 1was completely developed at Punjab Agricultural University, the F 1861 and RS 2013 varieties were converted to Bt version by Central Institute for Cotton Research (CICR), Nagpur. Cotton is the only genetically-modified seed legally allowed in India. Punjab alone needs around 20-25 lakh packets of Bt cotton seed for the sowing of the crop which roughly amounts to around Rs 225 crores.
What is Bt cotton?Bt cotton is a genetically modified organism (GMO) cotton variety, which produces an insecticide to bollworm. Bt cotton has been genetically modified by the insertion of one or more genes from a common soil bacterium, Bacillus thuringite NSIS. These genes encode for the production of insecticidal proteins, and thus, genetically transformed plants produce one or more toxins as they grow.