Delhi University's GM mustard gets process patent rights

Written by ASHOK B SHARMA | New Delhi, Sep 23 | Updated: Sep 24 2007, 04:34am hrs
The University of Delhi has been accorded process patent rights by the US Patent Office relating to the development of the transgenic mustard hybrid, DMH-1. "We have applied for two other process patent rights for developing the transgenic mustard seed under the Patent Cooperation Treaty. We expect to get these patent rights soon," said the Vice chancellor, Deepak Pental.

He said that the transgenic mustard hybrid has pollination control mechanism. Demonstration trials followed by multi-locational field trials of DMH-1 were successfully conducted in 2005-06 and the results showed that DMH-1 had higher yield advantage over its check counterpart, Rohini.

The University of Delhi (South Campus) has also developed another transgenic hybrid, DMH-11 which is also claimed to higher yield advantage over its check counterpart, Varuna.

Pental further said : "The Supreme Court in its recent order has directed that the isolation distance between GM and non-GM crops field trials should be maintained at 200 metres. This has made difficult to conduct field trials."

He said that private seed companies were, however, interested in commercialising the transgenic mustard hybrids. "But now we have allowed the public sector agencies, National Seeds Corporation and State Farms Corporation of India to produce seeds. The National Dairy Development Board and DOFCO are funding the production of seeds," he said.

The Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) had approved field trials of transgenic mustard, but the Supreme Court in response to a petition filed by Aruna Rodrigues and PV Satheesh banned field trials of GM crops on September 22, 2006. Thereafter the apex court made an exception and allowed field trials on transgenic mustard.