In Boost for Agriculture, India Exempts Gene Edited Crops from Biosafety Assessment

In a bold move with far-reaching consequences for the country’s agricultural development, India’s government has issued an order exempting certain gene-edited plants from stringent biosafety regulations.

Indian public sector research laboratories are already using gene editing to develop a number of improved crop varieties, including nutritionally improved oil seeds; rice and maize that can tolerate drought stress; beta carotene-rich banana; high oleic and low linoleic acid ground nuts; blast-resistant rice; high-yielding rice that is nitrogen- and water use-efficient; low-phytate rice; anthracnose-resistant pepper; and biotic and abiotic stress-tolerant tomato.

Indian farmers and seed companies have waiting for a much-needed boost for the country’s agriculture sector since the approval of genetically modified cotton, the country’s first GM crop, 20 years ago.

The recent announcement on gene-edited plants is expected to give the country’s seed industry and farmers a tremendous boost as the technology has the potential to develop new varieties more quickly.

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