Genetically Modified (GM) crops – cotton, mustards, etc.

Norms eased for GM Crop Research


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: GEAC, SDN

Mains level: Read the attached story

The Department of Biotechnology (DBT) has issued guidelines easing norms for research into genetically modified (GM) crops and circumventing challenges of using foreign genes to change crops profile.

Guidelines for Safety Assessment of Genome Edited Plants, 2022: Key Highlights

  • It exempt researchers who use gene-editing technology to modify the genome of the plant from seeking approvals from the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC).
  • The environment ministry in March 2022 exempted SDN 1 and SDN 2 genomes from Rules 7-11 of the Environment Protection Act.
  • Conventional breeding technique takes 8- 10 years for development of new crop varieties; genome-editing can do this faster.
  • The Environment Ministry too has sanctioned this exemption.

What are the SDNs?

The genome edited plants derived from the use of genome editing techniques employing site- directed nucleases (SDNs) such ZFNs, TALENs, CRISPR and other nucleases with similar functions are generally classified under three categories as

  1. Site-Directed Nuclease (SDN)-1, a site-directed mutagenesis without using a DNA sequence template;
  2. SDN-2, a site-directed mutagenesis using a DNA sequence template; and
  3. SDN-3, site-directed insertion of gene/large DNA sequence using a DNA sequence template.

What are GM crops?

  • The GM plants involve transgenic technology or introducing a gene from a different species into a plant, for instance BT-cotton, where a gene from soil bacterium is used to protect a plant from pest attack.
  • The worry around this method is that these genes may spread to neighboring plants, where such effects are not intended and so their applications have been controversial.
  • Genome editing involves the use of technologies that allow genetic material to be added, removed, or altered at particular locations in the genome. Several approaches to genome editing have been developed.
  • A well-known one is called CRISPR-Cas9, which is short for clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats and CRISPR-associated protein 9.

Try this PYQ:

Q.The Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee is constituted under the:

(a) Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006

(b) Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999

(c) Environment (Protection) Act, 1986

(d) Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972


Post your answers here.
Please leave a feedback on thisx

About Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC)

  • The Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) is a statutory body conotified under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.
  • It was formed as the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee and was renamed to its current name in 2010.
  • It functions under the Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change.
  • The body regulates the use, manufacture, storage, import and export of hazardous microorganisms or genetically-engineered organisms and cells in India.



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