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Field trials of indigenously developed GM Gold Rice soon
Ashok B Sharma The Financial Express, October 13 2006
NEW DELHI - India is not lagging behind in developing its versions of the genetically modified (GM) Golden Rice. Director-general of Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) Mangla Rai said, "We would possibly go for largescale field trials of our Golden Rice within a year."
Golden Rice, as per claims, ensures nutritional security.
It is argued that Golden Rice has high levels of carotenoids and iron.
Rai further said, "Elite Indica Rice has now been developed with 9.3 ug/q carotenoid level and 14-18 ug/q iron level in rice seeds after polishing. Further significant contributions have been made in developing this improved Indica Golden Rice by developing homozygous rice lines using another culture and also marker-free Golden Indica Rice was repeated."
The development of GM rice, however, can have some adverse trade implications. The trade session of the ongoing IInd International Rice Congress here on Wednesday discussed how complex global trade would become with the commercialisation of GM rice. In this context, the southwest regional director of IRRI, Steve Linscombe, said, "Though in US, GM rice events like 06 and 62 have been approved and found safe, the concerned company has not yet commercialised it, keeping in view some public concerns about this food crops. Same transgenic protein occurs in the herbicide resistant GM maize and Canola."
Linscombe said that bar gene has been inserted in LL Rice 06, 62 and 601. Speaking on the recent slippage of LL Rice 601 into the food chain in US, he admitted that the event 601 was not yet approved, but the US administration claims it to be safe. "Perhaps, the USFDA would evaluate this event soon."
In India a group of researchers isolated, characterized and incorporated into rice Sod1 gene cloned from mangrove. Transgenic PB1 with Sod1 gene was crossed with IR 120 and IR 64 rice and non-Basmati rice lines were field evaluated.