Category: Education

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My very first power point presentation in my undergraduate degree for a biotechnology class. Bt Cotton is a very controversial topic in the AgScience communities and this was an attempt to understand the science behind it and possibly provide the viewers/attendees some answers for their questions. However since the work is my own, I will not be making this available for download. Disclaimer: Since this was pretty amateur work, it is not cited at all and the stats are probably off, but not by a lot. So, please do NOT quote me or this presentation for the stats or anything specific. All the opinions expressed are my own and anyone reading this does not have to agree with the views or the opinions stated.


Presentation Transcript


Assignment-I Submitted by: RA/2008-03 Submitted to: Dr.J.Suresh Associate professor Dept. of Genetics &Plant Breeding




CONTENTS Cotton-An Introduction. Major pests in Cotton. Development of Bt Cotton Myths & Realities


Cotton Cotton is a soft, fluffy, staple fiber that grows in a boll around the seeds of the cotton plant. Cotton was first cultivated in the old world seven thousand years ago by the inhabitants of the Indus Valley Civilization. Gossypium hirsutum is the most widely planted species of cotton in the world, constituting about 89.9% of all production worldwide.

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Cotton plant

Cotton Cultivation in India :

Cotton Cultivation in India Cotton, often referred as " White gold " has been in cultivation in India for more than five thousand years. Cotton deserves the prime position in India constituting more than 70% of the total fibre consumption in the textile sector. In India, cotton is grown over an area of about 9 million hectares and provides livelihood for over 4 million farming families.

Production statistics:

Production statistics

Though there is significant rise in the yield over the years, India’s productivity is low when compared with the other countries:

Though there is significant rise in the yield over the years, India’s productivity is low when compared with the other countries

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In India, more than 75% of the cotton is cultivated either without suitable irrigation facilities or under rainfed conditions . Low yields are also due to non-adoption of good seed and manures Insects are the principal cause of yield losses. Estimates indicate that the yield losses due to insect infections would amount to almost 15% of world’s annual production. Major causes for yield reduction

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Major pests in Cotton

Pectinophora gossypiella:

Pectinophora gossypiella Pink bollworm

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• The pink bollworm ( Pectinophora gossypiella ) was first described in 1843 by W.W. Saunders as Depressaria gossypiella, from specimens found to be damaging cotton in India in 1842. The pink worm withdraws nutrients from the inside of the cottonseed and may cause serious yield losses.

Anthonomos grandis:

Anthonomos grandis Boll Weevil

Earias insulana:

Earias insulana (Spotted bollworm) The bollworms feed on the developing cotton bolls pose threat to cotton yields all over.

Aphid gossypii:

Aphid gossypii Cotton Aphids

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• The cotton aphid infests the cotton seedlings. Cotton aphids are among the most injuring insects found in cotton. In addition, aphid is a vector of viruses and a carrier of other insects.

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In India, while cotton is grown on 5 per cent of the total crop area, it uses up 55 per cent of all pesticides. Increasing chemical costs and falling cotton prices have pushed thousands of cotton farmers in India into a vortex of debt. Unable to face the consequences of crop failures and mounting debts, thousands of farmers across the country ended their lives during 1996-2001.

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Given the high chemical dependence of the cotton crop, it is no wonder that cotton was one of the first crops to be genetically engineered by the US-based agrochemical multinational MONSANTO , whose transgenic Bollgard (Bt) cottonseed varieties were a big draw among farmers the world over.

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Bacillus thuringiensis serves as an important reservoir of Cry toxins and cry genes for production of biological insecticides and insect-resistant genetically modified crops. The Bt gene was isolated and transferred from the bacteria to American cotton to produce Bt cotton. This cotton variety produces Bt toxin Cry1Ac which is particularly specific to American Bollworm. Bacillus thuringiensis

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When insects ingest toxin crystals the alkaline pH of their digestive tract causes the toxin to become activated. It becomes inserted into the insect's gut cell membranes forming a pore resulting in swelling, cell lysis and eventually killing the insect.

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Field trials have shown that farmers who grew the Bt variety obtained 25%–75% more cotton than those who grew the normal variety. Also, Bt cotton requires only two sprays of chemical pesticide against eight sprays for normal variety. According to the director general of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research, India uses about half of its pesticides on cotton to fight the bollworm menace.

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The Maharashtra hybrid seed company (Mahyco) imported Bt Cotton seeds into India in 1996 from Monsanto After crossing with Indian Cotton varieties, Mahyco conducted greenhouse and small-scale field trials on the newly developed varieties through 1999 and then released this transgenic Bt cotton in India.

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Though the Bt cotton is widely grown in India and several other important cotton growing countries , there are several doubts associated with future consequences of the wide spread use of transgenic crops.

Myths & Realities :

Myths & Realities Myth : Since Bt Cotton has an in built resistance against bollworm, a pest that is a major threat to cotton, it might also kill other insects, which maybe advantageous. Reality : Bt Proteins have no detrimental effects on the survival and production of Collmbola, a beneficial species of insects. Bt can be harmful to useful pests but it has proven to be much better than use of conventional pesticides.

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Myth : Cattle or animals that gaze may be adversely affected. Reality : Studies in the Industrial Toxicology Research Center Lucknow, established that Bt Cotton is safe to mammals, birds and fishes. The data on allergy studies on rats show no adverse effect.

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Myth: Bt Cotton ensures that seeds die with each year's crop forcing the farmer to buy afresh every year. (Referred to as Terminator Gene). Reality : There is no Terminator gene in Indian Bt Cotton. The seeds have already progressed to six generations. Cotton seed

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The most significant downside of Bt Cotton is the threat of development of resistance by insects and pests. This threat can be countered by the use of “Refugia” to prevent or delay the development of resistance. “Refugia” is a method when non-Bt Cotton is allowed to grow along with Bt Cotton so that the pests can thrive on the non-Bt Cotton and breed with the pests that may have developed resistance, hence reducing the risk of resistance.

Bt Cotton is here to STAY.:

Bt Cotton is here to STAY. In the 1990’s, for the first decade since the green revolution, the rate of growth of agricultural production fell behind the rate of population growth. To cater to the needs of every Indian in the year 2011-12 production needs to grow at a rate of 3.4% per year. The current rate is 1.8%. The gap is CLEAR.

How can it be bridged?:

How can it be bridged? Certainly not by chemical fertilizers Organic fertilizers beneficial for the soil may be useless in terms of sheer scale in which they are required. The land under cultivation is also limited. Mankind's only other option presently is BIOTECHNOLOGY.

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Biotechnology doesn't limit itself to quantity. It promises multi-purpose all-in-one crops. The application of genetically modified plants in agriculture is anticipated to be a major event in evolving more productivity and sustainable agriculture in the coming years. The concerns are the risks and the magnitude of the consequences to environment. Technology rarely doesn't have some kind of adverse effect, yet people continue innovating and accepting the new challenges that come with new freedoms.

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Nevertheless, society must be responsible for technologies that it develops. Currently, the relationship between the scientific community and the general public is poor. Such negative public understanding might prohibit advancement of any technology and prevent realization of its great potential. Emerging new technology especially environmental friendly approaches to genetic engineering, hold the key to addressing these public concerns.

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