Creating superweeds? Bt brinjal and its spread to ‘wild relatives’

30 May

brinjals superweedsDelhi’s Devinder Sharma sends the news that the research done by John Samuels of the Novel Solanaceae Crops Project, Penzance, Cornwall, UK,, commissioned by Greenpeace has now been published in Trends in Biotechnology (Vol 31, Issue 6, June 2013).

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Citing various reasons like inadequate experimental methodologies and erroneous nomenclature of the parent species, John Samuel tells us that the biosafety implications of hybridisation remained compromised. He writes:

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There is insufficient evidence that GE brinjal will remain uncontaminated, and this risk needs to be evaluated (Andow, 2010).

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The possibility of ‘impinging upon the right of farmers for safe and sustainable use of indigenous agro-biodiversity’ (Yadugiri, 2010) is a concern, whereby the genetic resources of many traditional cultivars and landraces could be compromised by transgene transfer.

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Certain traditional systems of medicine in India employ brinjal or some of its close relatives (Anand, 2006; Kameswara Rao, 2011) and there is further concern over genetic compromise of these much-valued treatments. Some would argue that brinjal itself is not a significant component in such preparations (Kameswara Rao, 2011), but nevertheless several close relatives, interfertile with brinjal, ostensibly are.

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At the Tenth Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP10) in Japan in October, 2010 a new ten-year Strategic Plan with 20 targets was constructed. Target 9 is geared towards preventing the introduction of invasive species,whilst Target 13 relates to conserving the genetic diversity of crops and their wild relatives (CBD, 2010). In accordance with COP10 guidance, and whilst the Indian moratorium continues, it is proposed here that more detailed and thorough consideration is given to the implications for plant biodiversityof the commercialization of Bt brinjal”.

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Sharma writes:

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Looking through the research data now available, he says that six wild relative species and four cultivated species have the potential to crossbred with the transgenic Bt brinjal. I have taken this table out from the article for an easy understanding. 

species known to cross with brinjal

Hope the scientists as well as the science administrators are listening. Especially in the light of latest revelations that show how superweeds are becoming a nuisance in United States and Canada.” 


Posted By Devinder Sharma to Ground Reality at 5/28/2013 05:35:00 PM

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