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Study Adverse Effects of Transgenic Cops: Pawar

Indian Bt Cotton to Hit Market Soon

HYDERABAD: Move over Bt Cotton produced by MNCs, India's own Bt Cotton is all set to storm the fields next year with the Nagpur-based Central Institute for Cotton Research coming up with the desi version seeds.

Cotton farmers in the country will get the Indian variety of Bt Cotton from 2009, which they can reuse like any other variety.

Addressing a press conference organised by the All-India Crop Biotechnology Association (AICB), Prof KC Bansal of National Research Centre on Plant Biotechnology, said a variety of experiments on the seed - Bikaneri Narma - were underway to make the seeds able to resist virus, abiotic stresses and fungus diseases.

The desi Bt version would help the cotton farmers to use the seed for the subsequent crop seasons unlike the present Bt seeds that required the farmers to buy every season. He, however, pointed out that the efficacy could diminish as seasons pass by.

Stating that GM (genetically modified) crops were safe and required to ensure food security, he said the country would have rice, wheat, soya, tomato, banana and brinjal crops that could withstand a variety of problems such as insects, drought, pests and salinity.

Giving an overview on the research being done in the ICAR Network on Transgenic Crops, he cited the example of experiments on tomatoes with delayed ripening and improved quality.

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