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Genetically modified rubber planted in Kerala

  • Category
    Environment
  • Published
    30th Jun, 2021

Rubber Research Institute of India had developed a rubber plant tailored for the climatic conditions in the Northeast.

Context

Rubber Research Institute of India had developed a rubber plant tailored for the climatic conditions in the Northeast.

About

About the Genetically modified organism (GMO)

  • A genetically modified organism (GMO) or living modified organism (LMO), is any organism whose genetic material has been modified.
  • Mass production of GM technology-based human insulin, vaccines, growth hormones and other drugs has greatly facilitated the availability and access to life-saving pharmaceuticals are the results of Genetic Modification.
  • Under this, the gene is incorporated into the DNA of crop plant using laboratory-based gene gun or agrobacterium approaches.

The Genetically modified rubber plant of Kerala

  • This is the world’s first genetically modified (GM) rubber plant tailored for the climatic conditions in the Northeast.
  • The plant was developed at the Kerala-based Rubber Research Institute of India (RRII).
  • This is the first time any GM crop has been developed exclusively for a particular region.
  • Natural rubber is a native of warm humid Amazon forests and is not naturally suited for the colder conditions in the Northeast, which is one of the largest producers of rubber in India.
    • The growth of young rubber plants remains suspended during the winter month.
  • The GM rubber would tide over the severe cold conditions during winter, which impacts its growth.
  • The GM rubber has additional copies of the gene MnSOD or manganese-containing superoxide dismutase.
    • The MnSOD gene can protect plants from the adverse effects of severe environmental stresses such as cold and drought.

Modification Process

  • Bt cotton is the only crop that got permission to be grown as GMO. Other crops such as BtBrinjal, Potato are waiting for trials and clearance.
  • Indian farmers started cultivating Bt cotton in 2002-03.
  • By 2014 the area had expanded to 11.6 million hectares and nearly 96 per cent of the cotton area was covered by Bt cotton.
  • India became the fourth largest cultivator of GM crops by acreage and the second-largest producer of cotton.

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