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Current Affairs 2023

Dhara Mustard Hybrid 11 - UPSC Current Affairs

Dhara Mustard Hybrid or DMH-11, is a genetically modified crop that has been developed by scientists from the Centre for Genetic Manipulation of Crop Plants (CGMCP) at Delhi University. It is a herbicide-tolerant variety of mustard that carries a gene for resistance to herbicides and has been developed using barnase-barstar GM technology. It contains three genes (Bargene, Barnase, and Barstar) derived from the soil bacterium Bacillus amyloliquefaciens. The crop has the potential to be a high-yielding variety of mustard, which could help India achieve self-sufficiency in oil production and reduce its dependence on imports.

Nov 16, 2022

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The News : The Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) has approved the environmental release of Dhara Mustard Hybrid-11 (DMH-11).
 

What is Dhara Mustard Hybrid-11 (DMH-11)?

 

1. DMH-11 is a hybrid variety (genetically engineered variant) of mustard crop.
2. DMH-11 is a cross between two varieties viz. Varuna and Early Heera-2.
3. Recently, the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee had approved the environmental release of DMH-11
 

About The Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC)

 

1. GEAC is India's apex regulator of genetically modified plants and food products.
2. Concerned Ministry - Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC).
3. Chairperson - Special Secretary/Additional Secretary, MoEF&CC.
4. Co-chairperson - Representative from the Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology.
5. Members - 24.
6. Review meeting - Monthly.
 

Responsibilities of GEAC

 
1. Appraisal of activities involving large scale use of hazardous microorganisms and recombinants in research and industrial production from the environmental angle.
2. Appraisal of proposals relating to release of genetically engineered (GE) organisms and products into the environment including experimental field trials.
 

Who developed DMH-11?

 

Researchers led by Dr. Deepak Pental (former Vice-Chancellor, University of Delhi).
 

Research location

 

The Centre for the Genetic Manipulation of Crop Plants (University of Delhi)
 

Key points to note about DMH-1 and DMH-11

 

DMH-1

 

1. DMH-1 is a variant developed without transgenic technology.

2. DMH-1 was approved for commercial release in N-W India in 2005-06

 

DMH-11

 

1. DMH-11 is a variant developed with the help of transgenic technology because it uses foreign genes from a different species.

2. DMH-11 is not only has better yield but is also fertile. As per ICAR trials, DMH-11 has 28% higher yields than its parent Varuna and was 37% better than best local varieties.

3. Currently, the only transgenic crop grown in India is Bt-cotton.

4. GEAC approval allows DMH-11 to be grown in fields under ICAR supervision.

 

What is transgenic technology?

 
As per nature.com, 'a transgenic, or genetically modified, organism is one that has been altered through recombinant DNA technology, which involves either the combining of DNA from different genomes or the insertion of foreign DNA into a genome.'
 

What are the Challenges?

 

1. Mustard is a self-pollinating plant.

2. Plant-breeders face difficulties to cross different mustard varieties and induce desirable traits.

3. Natural crossing is not possible.

 

How the mustard plant's genes are to be manipulated?

 

1. First, turn off the self-pollinating trait and enable crossings. Crossing was done after introducing genes from two soil bacterium called barnase and barstar.

2. Second, restore the trait, and enable seed production.

 

What is 11 in DMH-11?

 
11 refers to the number of generations after which desirable traits manifest.
 

About mustard crop (Brassica Juncea)

 

1. Mustard is a rabi crop grown in winter season.
2. Mustard is cultivated in 6-7 million hectares.
3. Location - Rajasthan, Haryana, Punjab and Madhya Pradesh.
 

What is the need of hybrid variety of mustard?

 

To meet India’s rising edible-oil import bill.

 

Mustard import

 

1. India imports almost 55-60% of its domestic edible-oil requirement (2020-21).

2. Around 13.3 million tonnes of edible oil were imported at a cost of ₹1,17,000 crore.

 

Reasons behind high imports

 

1. Low productivity - 1-1.3 tonnes/hectare - productivity stagnant for over 20 years.

2. Hybrid mustard and rapeseed are the dominant form of oil seeds in Canada, China and Europe.

3. Only way to improve India’s productivity is to have more mustard hybrids.

 

 

 

Prelims Questions

 

1. DMH-11 is a hybrid variety of which of the following crops?

 

A. Cotton
B. Mustard
C. Cardamom
D. Sugarcane

 

2. GEAC is India's apex regulator of genetically modified plants and food products under the

 
A. Ministry of Science and Technology
B. Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change
C. Ministry of Agriculture
D. Department of Biotechnology
 

3. Consider the following statements

 

1. DMH-1 is a mustard variant developed with the help of transgenic technology.

2. DMH-11 is a mustard variant developed without transgenic technology.

 
Select the correct statement/s
 
A. Neither 1 nor 2
B. Both 1 and 2
C. 1 only
D. 2 only
 

4. Varuna and Early Heera-2 are two varieties of

 
A. Mustard
B. Cotton
C. Sugarcane
D. Rice
 

Mains Question

 

1. Can hybrid variety of mustard reduce India’s rising edible-oil import bill. Discuss.

 

 
 
Based on the explainer published in The Hindu - The new hybrid variant of mustard, Jacob Koshy
 
References/Image: GEAC, Nature / Pixabay.

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