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‘TN Govt Should Invest in GM Crop Research’: says Biologist Venki Ramakrishnan

Nobel laureate and structural biologist Venki Ramakrishnan advocated for genetically modified crops and genetic mutation, urging the government to invest in genetic crops rather than allowing private companies to monopolize them.

Shivam Dwivedi
Crops can be modified to be more drought tolerant and pest tolerant
Crops can be modified to be more drought tolerant and pest tolerant

During his speech on his research on ribosomes and a scientist's role in the creation of covid vaccines at the Asian College of Journalism here on February 3, he was responding to a student's question on genetic mutation.

"Many gene crops are produced by multinational corporations, which may result in monopolistic practices. Instead, governments, including the Indian government, can develop their own crop varieties through agricultural research labs,” said the biologist.

“Crops can be modified to be more drought tolerant and pest tolerant, allowing us to eliminate the use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers while maintaining the nutritional value of the crops. Rice and millet, for example, can be made more nutritious. India's population is only going to grow. Instead of a few multinational corporations, genetic mutation, and scientists are the solution," he continued.

Venki Ramakrishnan further stated that understanding drugs and how they interact with the system requires understanding the structure of the ribosome and that more research on ribosomes is required to develop better antibiotics.

"Up until 3 years ago no one knew what mRNA meant, but after Covid, we know it is integral to the making of vaccines. The ribosome reads the mRNA, which is a specific copy of DNA and joins the tRNA to form amino acids, which are then used to make proteins. Antibiotics use these proteins to create immunity. We need to learn more about ribosome research in order to develop better antibiotics," he added.

The book 'The race to decipher the secrets of the ribosome' by Venki Ramakrishnan was translated into Tamil and released at the event. The translators Professor Sargunam Stephan and G Kuppusamy also participated in the event.

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