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Expert allays fears about use of GM crops

PUNJAB NEWS EXPRESS | April 16, 2021 02:07 PM

MOHALI: University School of Agriculture Sciences of the Rayat Bahra University organised an expert talk on `GM Crops regulations: Scope and Opportunities using CRISPR Cas 9 Genome Editing Approach’ by Dr Vinay Yadav, Assistant Professor Central University.

Dr Vinay Yadav described the benefits of GM crops and fears in the mind of people to use transgenic food. He said genetically modified crops (GM crops) are plants used in agriculture, the DNA of which has been modified using genetic engineering methods. Plant genomes can be engineered by physical methods.

In most cases, the aim is to introduce a new trait to the plant which does not occur naturally in the species. Examples in food crops include resistance to certain pests, diseases, environmental conditions, reduction of spoilage, resistance to chemical treatments (e.g. resistance to herbicide), or improving the nutrient profile of the crop.

Examples in non-food crops include production of pharmaceutical agents, biofuels, and other industrially useful goods, as well as for bioremediation, he said.

He said CRISPR/Cas9 comprises a set of powerful gene editing tools that are revolutionizing the field of biology, with the promise to create new research models for disease and to, in the future, perhaps prevent or cure disease.

These tools are providing unprecedented efficiency and precision to knock out genes in living mammalian cells and also the power to knock in and create novel sequences using homology directed repair (HDR).

Dr Amita Mahajan, Head of the Department of Agriculture, welcomed the guests and highlighted the importance of transgenic plants.

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