Recently, the world’s first genetically modified (GM) rubber plant was planted on the outskirts of Guwahati, Assam.
About GM Rubber Plant
- GM Rubber is the 2nd genetically modified crop to start field trial in India after Bt. Cotton.
It is developed at the Kerala-based Rubber Research Institute of India (RRII).
- It is first of its kind developed exclusively for the northeast and is expected to thrive in the climatic conditions of the region.
- It has additional copies of gene MnSOD (manganese containing superoxide dismutase) in it.
- The MnSOD gene used in the GM rubber was taken from the rubber plant itself.
GM Rubber crop in Northeast India
- The growth of young rubber remains suspended during the winter months which are also characterised by progressive drying of the soil.
- The MnSOD gene has the ability to protect plants from the adverse effects of severe environmental stresses such as cold, drought, etc.
- Natural rubber is a native of warm humid Amazon forests and it is not naturally suited for the cold conditions in northeastern region of the country.
Significance of GM Rubber Plant
- It will resist reduced moisture or drought, low and high temperatures as well as high light intensity.
- The new crop is expected to cut short the maturity period of rubber, indicating chances for early yielding as well.
There are no plant species in India that can breed with natural rubber and there is no risk of genes flowing from GM rubber into any native species.
- Tripura, which is the second largest natural rubber producing state in the country after Kerala, is currently cultivating natural rubber in 85,500 hectares of land and producing 62,000 tonne rubber annually.
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