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Genetically Modified Mustard Sown in Six Field Trial Plots Ahead of Supreme Court Plea Against It

DRMR, ICAR's research centre had sown the genetically modified (GM) mustard hybrid DMH-11 in 6 field trial plots for evaluation, days before a plea was filed in Supreme Court challenging biotech regulator GEAC's decision to permit the DMH-11 for "environment release".

Sonali Behera
The most popular hybrids and kinds of mustard seeds planted in the nation are "Giriraj," "Pioneer 45S46," and "RBM-19."
The most popular hybrids and kinds of mustard seeds planted in the nation are "Giriraj," "Pioneer 45S46," and "RBM-19."

In a meeting held on October 18, the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC), a regulatory body of the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change had recommended the environmental release of the DMH-11 seed for trials, demonstrations, and seed productions under Indian Council of Agricultural Research’s supervision.

A controversy has erupted over the environmental release of the hybrid seed variety Dhara Mustard Hybrid (DMH-11), which was created by the Delhi University's Centre for Genetic Manipulation of Crop Plants. The Supreme Court has received knocks from the anti-GM group.

As per the media reports, P K Rai (Directorate of Rapeseed-Mustard Research) (DRMR) on October 22 said that we received the seeds, and on November 3, a case was filed in the supreme court. Between this time, the seeds were previously sown in field testing plots for gauging the yields.

Two kilograms of DMH-11 seeds had been delivered to DRMR. The research organization had intended to plant eight field trial plots with 50 gram seeds apiece, but it could only do so in six locations. Since the matter was scheduled for hearing on November 3, he claimed, it did not sow in the other two locations.

He further added, 600 grams of seeds were already sown in two demonstration plots in addition to field trials. The ICAR, which has its headquarters in the national capital, gave the order to plant the DMH-11 seeds.

Till date, the developer has only conducted the Biosafety Research Trial (BRL)-II of the DMH-11 hybrid seed in a protected environment in various regions in India. Now that it has been released into the environment, it will be put to the test in open fields under the direction of the DRMR to determine the yield performance over a number of sites.

Three tiers of yield evaluation are conducted throughout three seasons. Instant Hybrid Trial (IHT) is the first level, and Advance Hybrid Trial-1 (AHT-I) and Advance Hybrid Trial-II are the second and third levels, respectively (AHT-II).

ICAR adheres to strict prescribed norms for evaluating the yield performance and if the yield performance fails at the IHT level and does not satisfy the established standards, subsequent levels of trials are not conducted.

The GM hybrid seed variety is ready for commercial distribution if DHM-II passes all three trials, which is done after a thorough scientific evaluation. The most popular hybrids and kinds of mustard seeds planted in the nation are "Giriraj," "Pioneer 45S46," and "RBM-19."

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