Permission for large scale Bt brinjal trials rejected

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New Delhi, Oct 3 (UNI) The Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) today said no to large scale trials on Bt brinjal hybrids.

These are SBJ 1 Bt, SBJ 2 Bt, SBJ 4 Bt, SBJ 6 Bt, SBJ 7 Bt and SBJ 8 Bt expressing cry 1Ac gene.

The Committee expressed the view the Bt brinjal hybrids developed by M/s. Mahyco were still under review, therefore, the present request could not be considered at this stage.

The Committee considered permission to commercial release/strip trials of Bt cotton hybrids with approved gene events. It noted that the proposals for commercial release and strip trials had completed the requisite regulatory testing and evaluation process.

The GEAC therefore approved this proposal. It was decided that this approval would be valid for Kharif 2008 only.

Permission to conduct confined Multi Location Research Trial (MLRT) on two Bt cabbage hybrids namely SCB-3 Bt and SCB-7 Bt expressing cry1Ac gene by conducting Multi Location Research Trial (MLRT) during Rabi 2007 was taken up for discussion.

As the Bt cabbage has no place in the 24 items approved by the GEAC during May one 2006 to September 22, 2006, this approval will be subject to the outcome of the Supreme Court's decision, it said.

That will depend on submitting the name of the lead scientists responsible for the trials before undertaking the trials, submission of an event specific test protocol duly validated/verified by ICGEB, New Delhi, maintanence of an isolation distance of minimum 200 m and on the condition that MLRT shall not be conducted in farmer's field.

Strip trial with transgenic tomato( cv. Pusa.Ruby) has been considered with certain conditions.They include strip trials for new events should be undertaken by the companies/institutions in their own premises/research farms and a distance of 200 m should be maintained.The applicant also should submit a validated event specific test protocol before undertaking the trial.

The GEAC also gave permission for Bt rice and RB-transgenic potato lines, and for extension of the period for conducting replicated confined Multi-Location Research Trial (MLRT) on Bt rice hybrid containing cry1Ac gene from Kharif 2007 to Rabi 2007 and to generate the biosafety data.

Regarding RB-transgenic potato lines (SP-951), permission to extension of the period for conducting contained limited field research trial (strip trial) from Kharif-2007 to Rabi-2007 by Central Potato Research Institute, Shimla has been granted.

The trials of these items could not take place during Kharif 2007, the GEAC approved to conduct the same during Rabi 2007.The applicant also should submit a validated event specific test protocol before undertaking the trials.

After detailed deliberations the GEAC approved the request for strip trials subject to the following conditions: The applicant should submit to the RCGM/GEAC the name of the Lead Scientist responsible for the trials before undertaking them.

The applicant should submit to the RCGM/GEAC an event specific test protocol duly validated/ verified by ICGEB, New Delhi / NBRI, Lucknow or any other accredited laboratory before undertaking the trials.

An isolation distance of minimum 200 m shall be maintained. In cases where the Seed Standards Certification mandates a larger isolation distance, the same shall be maintained.

The Strip trials shall not be conducted in farmers' field. Strip trials should be undertaken by the Companies/Institutions in their own premises or research farms.

UNI

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