It was reported earlier in May 2017 that Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) had cleared transgenic mustard, DMH-11 for commercial cultivation. However, records of that GEAC meeting which was made public now do not record any such approval. Though GEAC gave its approval for commercial cultivation of DHM-11, but the final release will be only after approval of Environment Minister.
Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC)
GEAC is apex body under Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change for regulating manufacturing, use, import, export and storage of hazardous micro-organisms or genetically engineered organisms (GMOs) and cells in the country. It is also responsible for giving technical approval of proposals relating to release of GMOs and products including experimental field trials.
GM Mustard DMH-11
DMH (Dhara Mustard Hybrid)-11 is genetically modified variety of Herbicide Tolerant (HT) mustard. It was developed by Centre for Genetic Manipulation of Crop Plants at Delhi University under Government sponsored project. It was created by using “barnase/barstar” technology for genetic modification by adding genes from soil bacterium that makes mustard self-pollinating plant. It contains three genes viz. Bar gene, Barnase and Barstar sourced from soil bacterium. The bar gene had made plant resistant to herbicide named Basta.
If it gets final approval from the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC), GM mustard DMH-11 will be first GM food crop to be commercially cultivated in India. Right now, only GM cotton is allowed.