Case Studies-Bt Brinjal Bt Cotton

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Brief case studies on Bt brinjal and Bt cotton


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    Some Case Studies

    Bt brinjal

    Bt Brinjal is genetically modified Brinjal. It is actually a group of transgenic

    brinjals (also known as an eggplant or aubergine) created by inserting a crystal

    protein gene from the soil bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis into the genome of

    various brinjal cultivars. The insertion of the gene into the brinjal plant is

    accomplished using Agrobacterium-mediated genetic transformation.

    The Bt brinjal has been developed to give resistance against lepidopteron insects,

    in particular the Brinjal. Mahyco, an Indian seed company based in Jalna,

    Maharashra, has developed the Bt brinjal. The genetically modified brinjal event is

    termed Event EE 1 and Mahyco have also applied for approval of two brinjal

    hybrids. Some of the local variety of brinjal include: Malpur local, Manjari gota,

    Kudachi local, Udupi local, and Pabkavi local. It was approved for

    commercialization in India in 2009, but - after an apparent public outcry and

    rounds of debates in which representatives from Mahyco, the scientific

    community, and NGO's spoke on the topic - then Indian Environment Minister,

    Jairam Ramesh, facilitated a moratorium on its release until further, unspecified,

    tests were conducted. Bt brinjal was approved for commercial release in

    Bangladesh in 2013.

    What is the controversy about?

    Bt Brinjal has generated much debate in India. The promoters say that Bt Brinjal

    will be beneficial to small farmers because it is insect resistant, increases yields, is

    more cost-effective and will have minimal environmental impact. On the other

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    hand, concerns about Bt Brinjal relate to its possible adverse impact on human

    health and bio-safety, livelihoods and biodiversity.

    Bt Cotton

    Bt cotton is a genetically modified variety of cotton producing an insecticide. It is

    produced by an American company Monsanto (multinational agrochemical and

    agricultural biotechnology corporation). It is supplied in India's Maharashtra state

    by the agri-biotechnology company, Mahyco, as the distributor.

    The bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) is a family of over 200 different proteins

    which naturally produce chemicals harmful to selective insects, most notably the

    larvae of moths and butterflies, beetles, cotton bollworms and flies, and harmless

    to other forms of life. The gene coding for Bt toxin has been inserted into cotton,

    causing cotton to produce this natural insecticide in its tissues.

    In many regions, the main pests in commercial cotton are lepidopteran larvae,

    which are killed by the Bt protein in the transgenic cotton they eat. This eliminates

    the need to use large amounts of broad-spectrum insecticides to kill lepidopteran

    pests. This spares natural insect predators in the farm ecology and further

    contributes to noninsecticide pest management.

    However, Bt cotton is ineffective against many cotton pests such as plant bugs,

    stink bugs and aphids; depending on circumstances it may still be desirable to use

    insecticides in prevention of such pests. A 2006 study done by Cornell researchers,

    the Center for Chinese Agricultural Policy and the Chinese Academy of Science on

    Bt cotton farming in China found that after seven years these secondary pests that

    were normally controlled by pesticide had increased, necessitating the use of

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    pesticides at similar levels to non-Bt cotton and causing less profit for farmers

    because of the extra expense of GM seeds.

    Images of Bt Cotton