Diagnostic kit for GM crops developed

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New Delhi, Apr 7 (UNI) Diagnostic kits have been developed for five genetically modified (GM) crops, Union Minister for Science and Technology and Earth Sciences, Kapil Sibal said here today.

Based on Polymerase chain reaction (PCR), the kits were ready for commercial use, he told a press conference.

The project was undertaken in view of the urgent need for upgrading the analytical methods for the GM detection to check the authorised GM crops being cultivated and to solve the legal disputes as well as to meet the labelling and international trade requirements.

Mr Sibal said the diagnostic kits developed at National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources (NBPGR), New Delhi under a collaborative research project funded by Department of Biotechnology would be of immense use to meet the regulatory obligations and legal requirements as well as in helping to address consumer concerns.

The global area under commercial cultivation of crops is increasing at a very fast pace. In India too, there has been dramatic increase in commercial cultivation of Bt cotton.

He said Bt cotton (Bollgard I) with cry1Ac gene was the first GM crop to be commercialised in India in March 2002 and Bt cotton (Bollgard II) with cry1Ac and cry2Ab for insect resistance has also been commercialised.

The other four food crops viz Bt brinjal and Bt cauliflower with cry1Ac gene, for insect resistance, GM mustard with barnase/ barstar gene for male sterility and GM tomato with osmotin gene for drought and salinity tolerance are either in field trials or in advanced stages of testing in contained field trials, said Mr Sibal.

The kits can detect specific transgenes, cry1Ac, cry2Ab, barnase/ barstar, and osmotin gene, individually as well as along with CaMV35S promoter and endogenous genes, Sad1 in cotton, SRK1 in cauliflower, HMG in mustard, Lat52 in tomato.

The diagnostic kits are reliable, sensitive and efficient, as more than one target sequences can be detected in a single assay, the sensitivity of the kits is upto 0.1 per cent.

They are user friendly and would require merely 4 hours time to complete the assay from the DNA and 8-10 hours from the plant tissue. The kits are also cost effective and the cost per assay will range from Rs. 50 to 60 only.

UNI NAZ AM RAI2114

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