BANGLADESH – GM EGGPLANT
MODIFIED BRINJAL FINALLY SEES THE LIGHT
The National Committee on Biosafety (NCB) yesterday officially released the country’s first genetically modified (GM) food crop, brinjal, which is infused with pest-resistant gene.
The decision was taken following a two-day meeting of the NCB, the highest regulatory body for GM crop release, held at the environment ministry with its secretary in the chair. With this decision, Bangladesh becomes the 29th country in the world to grow GM crop. In South Asia, India, Pakistan and Myanmar grow GM crop cotton. With the NCB nod, Bangladesh becomes the first in the region to grow a GM food crop.
Scientists at the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (Bari) genetically engineered brinjal, one of the most consumed vegetables in the country, by inserting a crystal protein gene (Cry1Ac) taken from the soil bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis, otherwise known as Bt. Since then it has been known as Bt Brinjal. The Bt gene insertion in brinjal gives it resistance against fruit and shoot borer (FSB), considered to be the most widespread and devastating pest in South and Southeast Asia. FSB infestations inflict 50 to 70 percent yearly crop loss in brinjal.