GM rubber plants will be tested in a small area at Guwahati – RRII
Jessy MD, who is in charge of the Rubber Research Institute of India (RRII), said that new genetically modified (GM) rubber plants will be tested in a small area at the Guwahati regional research station’s Sarutari Farm.
‘The tests will be done on one acre of the farm according to the standard operating procedures put out by the Biotechnology Department.’ Before they can be sold, the stress-tolerance traits will be tested in the field for 15 years to see how they do with disease and yield.
The Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) gave the go-ahead for field tests of GM rubber called Hevea two weeks ago.
She said that RRII had a big part in making the transgenics and had done follow-up work to get permission for field trials. Also Read |Why Kerala farmers abandoning rubber in favour of rambutan, dragon fruit?
She said that field tests must be done before any transgenic plant can be sold commercially and that the Centre has strict rules for the release of transgenic plants. So, RRII sent a request to the review committee for genetic manipulation to hold trials with transgenic plants that had the osmotin gene added.
What can’t be done?
More and more people want natural rubber, but there isn’t enough land in the traditional areas to grow more rubber trees. Rubber needs to be grown in places where it isn’t usually grown in order to make more of it. In these places, it’s hard to grow rubber because of things like high and low temperatures, a lot of light, dry soil, and other bad environmental conditions.
Rubber grows best in a warm, humid, tropical climate, and changes in the weather can affect its growth and yield. Research at the RRII is focused on breeding for stress tolerance, and she said that because rubber is a tree that grows back every year, it takes more than 20 years to develop new clones.
Biotechnology is being used more and more to speed up the breeding cycle of rubber. Molecular approaches are used to move and over-express genes of agronomic importance in order to give the crop the traits that are wanted. These traits are tested both in the lab and in the field. She also said that this targeted approach can help improve agronomic traits in elite clones, such as their ability to handle stress and their yield.
Kala RG is in charge of the Biotechnology and Genome Analysis team. Scientists Rekha K, Jayashree R, P Kumari Jayashree, and Thomas KU were very helpful in getting permission from GEAC for confined field trials.