GM Crops: GEAC Panel To Select Trial Sites

New Delhi, Nov 27: | Updated: Nov 28 2003, 05:30am hrs
The genetic engineering approval committee (GEAC), which met for the first time on Thursday after the additional environment secretary took over as chairperson, decided to form a sub-committee for formulating a policy on selection of sites for trials of genetically-modified crops.

This sub-committee will be headed by GEAC co-chairman Sushil Kumar and will also study the industry proposal for evaluating the concerned transgene in lieu of the transgenic crop. The sub-panel will also suggest measures for dealing with illegal sowing of unapproved GM seeds in several parts of the country.

The GEAC also deferred a decision on the application of Rasi Seeds for commercial production of its transgenic varieties of cotton. Rasi Seeds is a sub-licensee of the same Bt cotton technology which was acquired by Mahyco from Monsanto. Rasi sought commercial production of its RCH-134 and RCH-138 varieties. Rasi was told that it would be allowed to go ahead with commercialisation only after the last kharif trials reports were received from the review committee on genetic manipulation and monitoring and evaluation committee.

Similarly, the GEAC also deferred its decision on Mahycos application for seed production of its seven transgenic cotton hybrids. These hybrids are Bt MRC-6301, Bt MRC-6160, Bt MRC-6304, Bt MRC-6703, Bt MRC-6322, Bt MRC-6918, and Bt.MRC-6928.

The GEAC viewed with concern reports of manufacturing of recombinant streptokinase by the Hyderabad-based Shanta Biotech and the trial of the same on patients without prior approval.