India to benefit from second generation transgenic crops

Written by ASHOK B SHARMA | New Delhi, Sep 23 | Updated: Sep 24 2007, 04:38am hrs
India is slated to benefit from the second generation of transgenic crops, particularly the drought resistant ones, according to scientific affairs director of Monsanto-Singapore, Harvey Glick.

Speaking to FE, Glick said : "We are developing second generation of transgenic crops which would be resistant to drought and would require half the intake of nitrogen for doubling its yield. We are ready to transfer this technology for the benefit of Indian farmers."

This would also result in improved water use efficiency, he said.

Monsanto has developed drought tolerant corn hybrids and the lead events showed yield improvement under drought stress in field trials over two years in North and South America. This drought resistant corn hybrid would be launched in US in 2012, he said

Glick was recently in India at an international conference on biotechnology hosted by the apex industry body, FICCI.

Glick said that the company's future plans were also for developing feed and bio-fuel crops. He said already transgenic soybean stacked with Roundup Ready traits for increased oil stability, less hydrogenation and trans fat has been launched. It has reduced linolenic acid to the extent of less than 3%. The transgenic soybean has increased Omega-3 fatty acid for health benefits

"The Omega-3 in soybeans has longer shelf life. One acre of Omega-3 SDA soyean is equal in benefits derived from 13,000 salmon," he said and added that Monsanto was also developing high lysine corn (from 1000 ppm to 4000 ppm) for poultry feed.