PAU Develops Bt Cotton Variety with Reusable Seeds

The first genetically-modified (Bt) cotton seeds that can be reused developed by Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), it will resulting in saving of input cost to farmers. For cultivation in North region, the new cotton variety is among few others identified by Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR)

Vice chancellor, PAU, Dr Baldev Singh Dhillion said, "The notification for these varieties could be out as early as next month after ICAR's scheduled meeting," ICAR has asked the university to put up proposal regarding release of these varieties, he added.

The three Bt cotton varieties include PAU Bt 1, F1861 and RS 2013.

PAU Bt 1 and F 1861 were developed by PAU, whereas, RS 2013 was developed at Rajasthan Agricultural University (RAU), Bikaner. While the PAU Bt 1was completely developed at Punjab Agricultural University, the F 1861 and RS 2013 varieties were converted to Bt version by Central Institute for Cotton Research (CICR), Nagpur.

Dr Dhillon said, "We are expecting that by next year we will be able to distribute seeds to farmers for sowing in fields. Surely, by next to next year we will distribute seeds on large scale." He said that the process for multiplying the seeds would be started this year. He said that Bt technology imparts resistance to bollworms, which are a major cause of yield loss in cotton.

Varieties will be notified soon after due diligence, said Dr Pankaj Rathore head, plant breeding, PAU. He said, "The varieties included Bollgard-mon 531 event that allows high resistance to cotton pest ball worm and carry cry1Ac gene."

As compared to current market price of Bt cotton hybrids seed, the price of seed of these Bt cotton varieties shall much lower so that farmers have a scope to reduce the cost of cultivation and increase the savings.

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