GM mustard field trials to begin from rabi season

The field trials of the GM mustard hybrid DMH-11, which has been granted approval for ‘environmental release’ by the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) recently, will begin from the ongoing rabi season, an official said on Monday.

The official said that the trials, known as performance evaluation trials, will be conducted under the supervision of ICAR Directorate of Rapeseed-Mustard Research (DRMR), Bharatpur, Rajasthan, as per the Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR) rules and guidelines. The ICAR-DRMR is responsible for the All India Coordinated Research Projects on Rapeseed-Mustard in the country.

Speaking to The Indian Express, Dr P.K. Rai, Director, ICAR-DRMR, said, “As far as yield evaluation trials are concerned, we do them for three years. One is the initial varietal trial or the initial hybrid trial. If some entries are giving higher yield over the checks then only these entries are promoted to the next stage of testing i.e., AHT (Advance Hybrid Trial-1).”

“As far as DMH-11 is concerned, we are going to test it as IHT (initial hybrid trial). We are going to have a small trial and put all those checks…. This trial will be conducted at some of the centres… let us see whether it is qualifying for the next stage of promotion or not,” Rai said, adding that the DRMR has received one kg seed of DMH-11 for the trials.

“As per the ICAR rules and regulations, only those entries which are showing 10 per cent higher yield over the check variety and 5 per cent over the check hybrid will be promoted,” he said.

“Normal hybrid tests [for mustard] take place at 16 places across the country. We will try to put [the DMH-11] at 6-7 locations… sowing will begin in the next 4-5 days,” Rai said, adding that the mustard crop can be sown till November 15.

Recently the GEAC, which comes under the Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change, had recommended the environmental release of transgenic mustard hybrid DMH-11 and parental lines “bn 3.6 and modbs 2.99” containing barnase, barstar and bar genes.

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