By admin       2017-09-14

The company hopes to get regulatory approvals in 2 years Mumbai, September 13:In a major breakthrough in pest control research, Hyderabad-based Nuziveedu Seeds Ltd (NSL) seems to have found an answer to the dreaded pink bollworm, which continues to infest Bt cotton year after year.The company has developed an alternative trait to tackle the bollworm, which developed resistance to Bt cotton in single-gene traits in 2008-09, and to two-gene traits in 2015.Researchers at NSL, India s largest seed company, claim to have developed a new trait by combining two existing genes. We have tested the gene at the laboratory and found it to be successful in resisting bollworm attacks. The breeding of the gene is being conducted at our Hyderabad facility, NSL Chairman and Managing Director M Prabhakar Rao told BusinessLine.NSL has already filed an application on the new finding with the Review Committee on Genetic Modification (RCGM), set up under the Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology. It is also preparing to file an application with the biotech regulator, Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC), a statutory body set up under the Environment Protection Act, said Rao, who is also the president of the National Seeds Association of India.According to government statistics, cotton is grown on 10.5-12.5 million hectares across 11 major States Maharashtra, Gujarat, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Punjab, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Odisha and Tami Nadu. In case there is a of bollworm attack, a farmer has to shell out about ₹2,000 per hectare for pest control. In the last cotton season, the pest caused a crop loss of 25-30 per cent.Combining genes We have combined Cry1AC with Cry1EC of the National Botanical Research Institute, to achieve this success. This trait is showing good results in bioassays conducted in our labs and we hope to get regulatory approvals in two years, said Sateesh Kumar, Director-Research at NSL. Cry1Ac and Cry1EC, developed by NBRI, are endotoxins acting as insecticides.We hope to bring it to the market within two years of getting regulatory approvals, added Rao..

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