NBRI Developed New Whitefly Resistant Cotton Seed Variety

Lucknow-based National Botanical Research Institute (NBRI) researchers developed a new cotton seed which is whitefly-resistant. NBRI has become the first institute in the world to isolate an anti-whitefly gene (designated as Tma12) from a fern.

A team of NBRI researchers led by senior scientist P K Singh. This team has even introduced it into cotton and successfully completed its trial for three years and over six generations, thus proving its efficacy.

In the next five years farmers will get whitefly-resistant cotton seed. This should please cotton farmers in Punjab and Haryana, one of the worst hit by the pest attack over the past couple of years.

Singh said, "The process of transferring the technology to Punjab Agriculture University (PAU) in Ludhiana is on. We are taking legal advice and both the institutions have started seeking permission from the Union government's Review Committee of Genetic Manipulation (RCGM). "

Last year, the whitefly outbreak caused devastation of cotton crop in 1.5 million hectares in Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan. The revenue loss to farmers was estimated to be Rs 10,000 crore, despite the use of pesticides worth Rs 500 crore.

Though, farmers in Punjab and Haryana will have to wait for five years before they can start buying the seed, this is the first clear long-term solution to have emerged in a long time.

Singh said "There is no GM technology available for the control of whitefly in world. India, Pakistan, Israel, Brazil, Argentina, USA, China and Australia are affected by whitefly. This insect also wreaks havoc in African countries. The major affected crops are cotton, tomato, brinjal, capsicum, chilli, cucumber, other vegetables and a few legumes."

According to NBRI, the study was initiated in 2007 and team developed whitefly resistant GM cotton in 2012 and a paper was submitted to top global journal, Nature Biotechnology, for publication in September 2015. After very rigorous review, this paper was accepted for publication on August 10, 2016," a release from NBRI reads.

Source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/
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