The research and development on genetically modified plants and food grains in India



Genetically modified food is considered as novel food, the world over; the expertise is gradually getting generated in developed and developing countries.

The India expertise in genetically modified food is being strengthened continuously along with creation of state of the art infrastructure since past one decade.

With the increasing population the focus of agricultural scientists is now on enhancing food production at a pace which would meet the needs of the future population and genetically modified foods offer good solution to this problem.

Indian universities are working on development of genetically modified plants food grains and the work is at various developmental stages. Several Research Institute such as central Tobacco Research Institute, Rajahmundry, Bose Institute Kolkata, Central Potato Research Institute Simla and Directorate of Rice Research, Hyderabad are some of the institutions involved in the development of transgenic crops. Research work has progressed in tobacco, rice, mustard, rapeseed, potato, brinjal, tomato, cauliflower and puIses.

These crops are expected to have improved agricultural productivity and enhanced nutritional quality. Transgenic potato with enhanced protein quality, quantity and increase in yield is under the field of evaluation. Under the Indian Environment Protection Act, 1986, all genetically modified foods are too assessed for their safely before they are permitted for commercial release in the country. The recombinant DNA safety guidelines have been also formulated in 1990 and subsequently revised in 1994 and 1998.

The guidelines incorporate the testing requirements of genetically modified food materials to assess their adverse effects, if any in human and animals. A three-tier mechanism for biosafety is under implementation. There are many institutional bio­safety committees, review committee on genetic manipulation and genetic engineering approval committee to monitor, evaluate and recommend various proposals.