Bt- Brinjal, Concept Issue and Future Prospects

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SPEAKER Ramanand V. Patil :

SPEAKER Ramanand V. Patil Bt BRINJAL – CONCEPT, ISSUES AND FUTURE PROSPECTS

CONTENTS:

CONTENTS PAST SCENARIO INTRODUCTION BIOTECH CROPS Bt BRINJAL ISSUES AND PROSPECTS CONCLUSION

PAST SCENARIO :

PAST SCENARIO Three significant developments in improved seeds and crop technologies have changed the face of Indian crop production. 4

Introduction:

Introduction Brinjal is botanically known as Solanum melongena L. (2n =24) included under the genus Solanum which is one of the largest genera having more than 1,500 described plant species. The cultivated types are fit for human consumption and are divided into three main varieties based on fruit shape. S. melongena var. esculentum (Round or egg-shape) S. melongena var. serpentinum (Long and slender) S. melongena var. depressum (dwarf brinjal plants) (Choudhary, 1976) 5

Centre of Origin:

Centre of Origin 1928 - Vavilov reported that its centre of origin was in the Indo-Burma region. Fig 1: Primary and secondary diversity centers of egg plant 6 Secondary Primary

GENETIC DIVERSITY OF EGG PLANT IN INDIA:

GENETIC DIVERSITY OF EGG PLANT IN INDIA India possesses rich diversity and immense variability in cultivated and closely related wild species of brinjal. The genetic diversity of brinjal is manifest in its morphology (growth habit, plant vigor, hairiness, prickliness, fruit color, size and shape ), physiology (time of flowering, water requirement and uptake) and biochemical features (bitterness of fruit ). In addition to a large number of high yielding cultivars, there are many landraces and wild species of brinjal. 7

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S. incanum S. indicum S. sisymbrifolium S. aethiopicum S. xanthocarpum S. nigrum S. gilo FIG: 2: WILD RELATIVES OF BRINJAL 8 S. integrifolium

GENETIC VARIABILITY OF EGG PLANT IN INDIA:

GENETIC VARIABILITY OF EGG PLANT IN INDIA Fig:3 9

Table 1: Crossability Between Important Solanum Species:

Table 1: Crossability Between Important Solanum Species S. melongena cultivar S. melongena var. insanum S. incanum S. integrifolium S.gilo S.indicum S.zuccagnianum S. xanthocarpum S. khasianum S.sisymbriifolium S. melongena cultivar N G G G G U U U R U S. melongena var. insanum G N G G G U U U U U S. incanum G G N G G G U U U U S. integrifolium G G G N S S U U U U S.gilo S S S S N U G U S S S.indicum G G D G G N D S U U S.zuccagnianum U G U U U U N S U U S. xanthocarpum S G S U U G U N U U S. khasianum U U O U U U U U N U S.sisymbriifolium U U O U O U U U O N N= Normal seeds set on selfing; G = Normal seeds which grew well; D= Normal seeds, but seedlings died; S= Normal seeds, but did not grow; R= Fruits set, but seeds shrunken; 0= Fruits set, but parthenocarpic; U= Cross-unsuccessful (Rao, 1979) Male Female 10

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27% 8% 8% 5% 5% 27% 11 Source : National Horticulture Database, 2011 Fig 4: Production Share of Major Vegetables in India (2010-11)

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AREA (IN ha) PRODUCTION (IN MT) PRODUCTIVITY (IN MT/ha) INDIA 6.12 105.63 17.3 GUJARAT 0.65 11.43 17.4 Table 2: Area, Production and Productivity of Brinjal 12 Source : National Horticulture Database, 2011

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Major Challenges in Brinjal Production in India Monophagous, most destructive and unmanageable pest of brinjal. Causes yield losses of 60-70% even after repeated insecticide sprays. Fruit and Shoot Borer (FSB) 13 Leucinodes orbonalis Fig 5: Distribution map of Leucinodes orbonalis

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EGGS LARVAE PUPAE ADULT 25-43 days 14 Fig 6: Life Cycle of The Fruit and Shoot Borer

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SHOOT DAMAGE FRUIT DAMAGE Fig 7: Symptoms of Damage 15

BIOTECH CROPS:

BIOTECH CROPS

BIOTECH CROPS:

BIOTECH CROPS Biotech crops are also known as Genetically Modified (GM) or Genetically Engineered (GE) crops. The most common traits deployed in biotech crops include 1. Insect resistance 2. Herbicide tolerance 3. Virus resistance 4. Improved product quality The “stacking” (use of more than one trait in a single crop) of these traits is an important feature that has been used increasingly to tackle multiple constraints in agriculture. 16

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Rank Country Area (M Ha) Biotech Crops 1 USA 66.8 Maize, soybean, cotton, canola, sugar beet, alfalfa, papaya, 2 Brazil 25.4 Soybean, maize, cotton 3 Argentina 22.9 Soybean, maize, cotton 4 India 9.4 Cotton 5 Canada 8.8 Canola, maize, soybean, sugar beet 6 China 3.5 Cotton, papaya, poplar, tomato, sweet pepper 7 Paraguay 2.6 Soybean 8 Pakistan 2.4 Cotton 9 South Africa 2.2 Maize, soybean, cotton 10 Uruguay 1.1 Soybean, maize Table 3: Major Countries Growing Biotech Crops 17 James, 2010

Bt BRINJAL:

Bt BRINJAL

WHAT IS Bt BRINJAL?:

WHAT IS Bt BRINJAL? Bt Brinjal (the first genetically modified vegetable crop) is a transgenic brinjal created out of inserting a gene [cry IAc ] from the soil bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis in to brinjal . The insertion of the gene into the Brinjal cell in young cotyledons has been done through an Agrobacterium mediated vector, along with promoters, markers etc. This is said to give the Brinjal plant resistance against lepidopteran insects like the Brinjal Fruit and Shoot Borer ( Leucinodes orbonalis ) and Fruit Borer ( Helicoverpa armigera ) . It is reported that upon ingestion of the Bt toxin by the insect, there would be disruption of digestive processes, ultimately resulting in the death of the insect. 18 ( Choudhary & Gaur, 2009)

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Shigetane Ishiwatari (1901), first isolated Bacillus thuringiensis . Bacillus thuringiensis , commonly abbreviated as Bt, is a gram-positive, facultative aerobic, rod-like, motile and sporulating bacterium. Ubiquitous in nature. Produces crystals of endotoxin ( Cry protien or delta toxin) - toxic to insect mainly their larval stage, thus they act as insecticides. Important biological insect control agent. 19 Bacillus thuringiensis

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Bt crystals, sometimes referred as insecticidal crystal proteins (ICP), are protein crystals formed during sporulation in some Bt strains coded by cry genes. Ribbon model of Cry IAc toxin molecule. The three distinct domains. The α -helical cylinder that forms domain-I is involved in membrane insertion and pore formation. Domains II and III are involved in recognition and binding to receptors in the insect midgut wall respectively. 20 What Are Bt Crystals?

CLASSIFICATION OF Bt CRYSTALS:

CLASSIFICATION OF Bt CRYSTALS Gene Crystal shape Protein size (kDa) Insect activity cry I [several subgroups: A(a), A(b), A(c) , B, C, D, E, F, G ] bipyramidal 130-138 Lepidoptera Larvae cry II [subgroups A(b), B, C ] Cuboidal 69-71 Lepidoptera & diptera cry III [subgroups A, B, C ] flat/irregular 73-74 Coleopteran cry IV [subgroups A, B, C, D ] bipyramidal 73-134 Diptera cry V-IX Various 35-129 Various Crickmore (1998) TABLE: 4 21

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IIVR Varanasi IIVR Varanasi B t Brinjal : A Collaborative Programme 22

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The Maharashtra Hybrid Seeds Company (Mahyco) - a leading Indian seed company has developed a new DNA construct, contains the following genes: cry IAc gene - Bacillus thuringiensis sub-sp. kurstaki ( B.t.k ) strain HD73 CaMV 35S promoter Two selectable markers nptII gene - encodes enzyme neomycin phosphotransferase II (nptII) and is used to identify transformed cells that contains cry1Ac gene. aad gene - encodes for enzyme 3"(9)-O- aminoglycoside adenyl transferase (AAD) and allows for selection of bacteria containing the pMON 10518 plasmid on media containing spectinomycin or streptomycin. This DNA construct is placed in plasmid strain pMON 10518 of E.coli. 23 How Bt Brinjal is Developed?

Fig 8: Triparental Mating In To Agrobecterium tumefaciens LBA 4404:

Fig 8: Triparental Mating In To Agrobecterium tumefaciens LBA 4404 E.coli PMO… pMON10518 E.coli pRK2013 pTi pTi LBA 4404 A.tumefaciens LBA 4404 24

SCHEMATIC DIAGRAM OF Bt BRINJAL DEVELOPMENT:

SCHEMATIC DIAGRAM OF Bt BRINJAL DEVELOPMENT 1 INOCULATION 2 CO-CULTIVATION 3 4 5 6 SELECTION & REGENERATION RE-GROWTH MOLECULAR VERIFICATION OF GENE PRESENCE & EXPRESSION EVALUATION OF TRANSFORMED BRINJAL PLANT FOR INSECT PROTECTION 25 Fig: 9

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Epithelium Dissolving of crystals and activation of toxins Pro-toxin Activated ∂- endotoxin Receptors Toxins bind to receptors Perforation of gut membrane Crystals Hilbeck and Schmidt (2006) Fig 10: Mode of Action of Bt Toxin in Insect Gut 26

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PROTOCOL FOLLOWED BY REGULATORY APPROVAL OF Bt BRINJAL

Protocol Followed by Regulatory Approval of BT Brinjal:

Protocol Followed by Regulatory Approval of BT Brinjal 2000-2002 Transformation, backcrossing, event selection, greenhouse experiments and contained field trials 2002-2004 Greenhouse experiments, confined field trials and initial biosafety and environmental studies Mahyco trials ICAR trials MLRTs 2004-05 and 2005-06 2004-05 and 2005-06 Applicant ( Mahyco ) Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBSC) (Submission of application for approval of RCGM) Review Committee on Genetic Manipulation (RCGM) (Approval for the greenhouse experiments, contained field trials, generation of data on gene stability and expression, confirmation of gene/event of Bt brinjal ) Review Commitee on Genetic Manipulation (RCGM) (Approval for the conduct of multi-location research trials of 8 Bt brinjal hybrids) Monitoring and Evaluation Committee (MEC) (Monitoring of multi-location research trials and large-scale field trials, evaluation of field trials data and recommendation to RCGM) Contd…. 27 (Choudhary & Gaur, 2009)

Contd….:

Contd…. Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) (Approval of 7 Bt brinjal hybrids for large-scale field trials to the Indian Institute of Vegetable Research (IIVR), Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) (Approval for the experimental seed production of 7 Bt brinjal hybrids on 0.1 acre per hybrid LSTs 2007-08 and 2008-09 ICAR first year LSTs by IIVR ICAR first year LSTs by IIVR 2008-09 Experimental seed production by Mahyco Under the consideration for release 2009 Oct.15 th Responding to strong views expressed both for and against the release of the Bt Brinjal , the Minister of State for Environment and Forests (to whom the GEAC reports) announces a nationwide consultation in January and February of 2010. 2010 Feb.9th Minister of Environment and Forests ( MoEF ), Government of India, had imposed a moratorium on the release of Bt- brinjal for an unspecified period. 28 (Choudhary & Gaur, 2009)

Issues and Prospects:

Issues and Prospects

Human Health and Biosafety:

Human Health and Biosafety

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Rigorous bio-safety tests have been done as required by the Indian regulatory system. This includes acute toxicity tests in laboratory rats. sub-chronic oral toxicity studies. allergenecity studies on rats and rabbits and feeding studies in fish, chicken, goats, and milking cows. No significant difference was noted between Bt brinjal and non-Bt brinjal in bio-safety tests like acute oral toxicity, sub chronic oral toxicity in rats, allergenecity of protein to rats etc. , Enzymes from antibiotic resistance genes are produced at such low levels that is absolutely ineffective on the antibiotic. There is no single evidences that the transfer of transgenes from GM plant material to other bacteria has been reported. 29 Arguments in Favour of Bt Brinjal Anonymous, 2009

Contd….:

Contd…. Bt has no toxic effect on human because The Cry1Ac endo -toxin is a protein which breaks down when cooked. Stomach is in acidic. Absence of required receptors. The toxin breaks down into common amino acids. This confirms that Bt protein is absolutely safe for human consumption. The Government of India's Ayurvedic Formulary (Anonymous, 1978) listed 444 formulations that use 351 plant species, in which Solanum xanthocarpum , Solanum nigrum and Solanum indicum were mentioned but not Solanum melongena ( brinjal ). The Head of the Foundation for Revitalization of Local Health Traditions, Bangalore, stated that “ the brinjal that we eat does not have any medicinal value.” (Indian Express, February 24, 2010). 30 Anonymous, 2009

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Bt toxins may activated in human digestive system – As stomach – mild acidic. Rest of the alimentary canal – alkaline. In Ayurveda – 14 varieties of the brinjal are being used for medicinal preparations. Used in its raw form. Brinjal itself has an Inherent property of allergenecity . 31 Arguments Against Bt Brinjal Anonymous, 2010 Contd….

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Antibiotic resistance genes and their protein products could cause problems to human health When the Bt brinjal is consumed, the bacteria present in human intestine may acquire the antibiotic resistance genes, which makes the bacteria resistant to the antibiotics. The antibiotic resistance genes may also be transferred into some other organisms in the environment and this could damage the ecosystem. Indigenous gene should be introduced in to the cultivars from the wild relatives, so that cost of cultivation may decrease. 32 Anonymous, 2010 Contd….

Cont..,:

Cont.., The Cry toxin is similar but not identical to Cry IAc . It is a chimeric protein of Cry IAc and Cry IAb , and designated Ccry IA in the report submit by expert committee. (EC II on Bt Brinjal Event EE-1 .) They have used Cry IAc instead of Ccry IA in the experiments used to support risk assessments. Inadequacy of tests -No third party or independent tests have been conducted so far on the Bt impact on human health. 33 Annonymous , 2009

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Note 3 Toxicological endpoint females/males/total Arithmetic mean values for females/males/total Vehicle control group (G I) Bt brinjal group (G IV) Total white blood cells(x10 3 / cmm ) 8.6/9.0/8.8 7.7/8.2/8.0 Aspartate aminotransferase (IU/L) 164.2/154.0/159.1 251.8*/244.8 */248.3** Plasma acetylcholinesterase ( IU/L) 641.8/656.2/649.0 534.0/529.3/531.7** Red blood cell acetylcholinesterase (IU/L ) 407.6/398.8/403.2 351.9/324.9/338.4 Bilirubin (mg/dl) 1.1/0.9/1.0 1.1/1.2*/1.2* *Statistically significant difference from G IV at p < 0.05 **Statistically significant difference from G IV at p < 0.01 Gallagher (2010) THE 14-DAY SUBCHRONIC ORAL TOXICITY STUDY OF TRANSGENIC Bt BRINJAL ON RATS TABLE: 5 34 New Zealand

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Toxicological endpoint Test group mean values females/males/total Test group mean values females/males/total Vehicle control group (GI) Bt brinjal group (GIV) Organ weight - ovaries (g ) 0.11(female) 0.06 **(female) Organ weight - spleen (g ) 0.86/1.34/1.10 1.02/1.19/1.11 Organ weight - kidneys (g ) 1.42/1.34/1.38 1.48/1.19/1.34 Total white blood cells ( x10 3 / cm 2 ) 9.3/11.1/10.2 14.0*/12.6/13.3* Aspartate aminotransferase (AST) 134.5/189.5/162.0 151.7/156.5/154.1 Plasma acetylcholinesterase (IU/L ) 591.6/604.0/597.8 875.0/902.6**/888.8** RBC acetylcholinesterase (IU/L ) 299.9/388.3/344.1 265.7/335.6/300.6 Total acetylcholinesterase (IU/L) 891.4/992.4/941.9 1140.7/1238.2/1189.4* Bilirubin (mg/dl ) 0.58/0.51/0.54 81**/0.52/0.66* THE 90-DAY SUBCHRONIC ORAL TOXICITY STUDY OF TRANSGENIC Bt BRINJAL IN RATS Gallagher (2010) *Statistically significant difference from G IV at p < 0.05 **Statistically significant difference from G IV at p < 0.01 TABLE: 6 35 New Zealand

Summary of statistically significant findings in rats fed Bt brinjal in 90 day study with implications for human health:

Summary of statistically significant findings in rats fed Bt brinjal in 90 day study with implications for human health Indicator What it might indicate Significant potential adverse effect Elevated white blood counts from chronic exposure Inflammation, allergy, tissue injury Higher aspartate aminotransferase in blood from acute exposure Liver damage Elevated bilirubin in blood Altered plasma acetylcholinesterase Smaller ovaries Reproductive toxicity Enlarged spleens Chronic infections or blood cancer Table: 7 Gallagher (2010) 36 New Zealand

Gene Pollution and Biodiversity:

Gene Pollution and Biodiversity

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In case of Bt brinjal, pollen flow studies were carried out as per the protocol approved by the regulatory authorities at IIVR. Pollen flow studies noted that maximum distance travelled by pollen was 15-20 meters and out crossing varied from 1.46-2.7%. It is known that pollen transfer between S. melongena and other wild species of Solanum such as S. insanum, S. incanum and S. integrifolium is possible. It has been reported that there is no natural crossing among cultivated and wild species of brinjal including S. incanum and S. insanum (Rao, 1979). Under forced crossing situations, even if crossing was possible, the viability and subsequent development of fertile seeds have not been successful. Arguments in Favour of Bt Brinjal Anonymous, 2009 37

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India is a centre of origin and diversity of brinjal . As a general rule GM crops should not be cultivated in the center of origin as it could lead to the loss of original varieties by transgenic cross pollination. Brinjal plant is usually self pollinated, but the extent of cross pollinated has been reported as high as 48% and hence it is classified as often cross pollinated crop. (Chen, 1997) Brinjal is insect-pollinated , hence the distance travelled by pollen depends on how far the pollinator carries it, which can never be confined to 30 m. 38 Anonymous, 2010 Arguments Against Bt Brinjal

Cont..,:

Cont.., Occurrence of natural hybridization between S. incanum and S. melongena . Viswanathan (1975) 39 A single Bt variety will push out all local nutritive land races. Eg : native variety of brinjal called ' Kantawala brinjal' in Saurashtra (Gujarat), famous for its taste and life-promoting qualities. Such local species will be threatened by the introduction of Bt Brinjal. India hosts at least two important global centres of exceptionally rich, uncultivated, indigenous biodiversity the Western Ghats and North-eastern India which are also at high risk from the new genetically tampered plant species. It is known that pollen transfer between S. melongena and other wild species of Solanum such as S. insanum , S. incanum and S. integrifolium is possible. The spread of Bt genes into the wild relatives of brinjal through crosspollination will certainly seriously disrupt natural biological communities (biodiversity). Annonymous , 2010

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Table 8: Crossability of Bt Brinjal with Solanum incanum Female parent Male parent Buds pollinated Fruit setting Fruits with viable seed Percent Fruit setting MHB-80 Bt W-4 ( S. incanum ) 360 68 45 19% MHB-39 Bt W-4 ( S. incanum ) 265 55 36 21% MHB-10 Bt W-4 ( S. incanum ) 322 74 55 23% MHB-11 Bt W-4 ( S. incanum ) 233 44 40 19% W-4 ( S. incanum ) MHB-80 Bt 180 21 12 12% W-4 ( S. incanum ) MHB-39 Bt 221 24 11 11% W-4 ( S. incanum ) MHB-10 Bt 241 22 13 9% W-4 ( S. incanum ) MHB-11 Bt 198 19 10 10% Bt Brinjal LST’s, IIVR, 2008 40

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Pest Management

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60% of plant protection cost for controlling fruit and shoot borer is reduced. In spite of the extensive use of chemical pesticides, larvae lead a concealed life, it is difficult to control through insecticide sprays. Genetic improvement by conventional plant breeding has not been successful due to the lack of resistance to fruit and shoot borer in brinjal germplasm. In a country like India, it is not possible to follow organic farming or Integrated Pest Management (IPM) to increase the yields even though they are good practice. 41 Anonymous, 2009 Arguments in Favour of Bt Brinjal

Contd….:

Contd…. The Cry1Ac protein is highly specific to lepidopteran pests and is not expected to adversely affect non-target organisms, because they do not have the receptors that are found in the midgut of target insects. The extensive use of chemical pesticides has also led to several problems like resurgence of secondary pests, resistance in pests against pesticides, health hazards and pesticide residues in edible fruit (Kabir et. al. 1996). Protection of naturally occurring predators and parasitoids and other beneficial organisms due to reduced use of insecticides. Increase in the secondary pest is due to insufficient management practices of the farmers. 42 Anonymous, 2009

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One of the proposed strategies is to deny resistant insects (FSB) opportunity to mate with other resistant insects (FSB), thereby preventing the creation of a resistant population. This can be achieved by ensuring that there are numerous susceptible insects in the vicinity to mate with the resistant-ones. This can be achieved by planting refuge crop (non-Bt crop) along with the Bt crop, in this case Bt brinjal, in a specified manner. Different types of Refuge in field 43 Choudhary and Gaur, 2009 Contd…..….

Fig 11: Proposed IRM Strategy for Bt Brinjal:

Fig 11: Proposed IRM Strategy for Bt Brinjal Non resistant progeny Resistant/ mutant larva Wild type Bt brinjal Area Refuge crop 44 Choudhary and Gaur, 2009

Comparative summary statistics of key parameters in MLRT’s:

Comparative summary statistics of key parameters in MLRT’s Entry Kalloli Gadhinglaj Kolhapur S D (%) FD (%) Yield (t/ha) S D (%) FD (%) Yield (t/ha) S D (%) FD (%) Yield (t/ha) ML (S) Bt 0.81 3.79 18.67 0.07 3.80 19..11 0.08 3.78 17.33 ML (S) 1.81 35.77 9.71 2.46 35.07 8.87 2.54 37.31 8.44 MG Bt 0.08 3.27 22.93 0.08 4.35 22.40 0.10 3.01 23.47 MG 2.80 36.60 13.80 2.80 36.16 11.76 3.08 37.24 13.80 UG Bt 0.10 5.29 20.40 0.27 4.71 17.38 0.10 4.85 15.87 UG 2.20 36.83 11.73 2.69 40.22 8.80 2.31 40.25 6.60 RL Bt 0.23 2.71 17.78 0.13 3.06 15.11 0.12 2.88 13.33 RL 3.12 18.41 12.67 2.60 16.43 11.82 3.46 17.31 10.13 KL Bt 0.15 2.89 15.56 0.08 2.80 15.56 0.02 4.12 14.31 KL 3.50 26.99 8.40 2.73 24.26 8.40 2.77 29.46 7.80 GO112 Bt 0.09 5.31 21.33 0.21 5.10 24.67 0.15 4.62 25.33 GO112 2.20 44.59 10.31 2.03 41.96 11.60 2.38 48.51 10.31 UAS, Dharwad (2007) Table: 9 45 Bt brinjal MLRT’s

Comparative summary statistics of key parameters in MLRTs:

Comparative summary statistics of key parameters in MLRTs Entry Coimbatore Madurai S.D (%) F.D (%) Yield (t/ha) S.D (%) F.D (%) Yield (t/ha) MDU1 Bt 0.06 3.53 30.91 0.18 2.13 25.69 PLR1 Bt 0.12 2.89 24.25 0.12 2.14 20.06 KKM1 Bt 0.10 3.69 29.80 0.18 2.27 25.40 Co2 Bt 0.20 3.91 26.27 0.24 2.55 21.62 MDU1 3.22 25.77 22.18 2.70 15.87 19.35 PLR1 2.55 24.52 17.42 3.01 16.78 16.14 KKM1 2.89 23.88 21.67 3.00 16.35 18.74 Co2 2.57 26.66 18.61 2.90 16.89 16.79 TNAU (2007) Table: 10 46 Bt brinjal MLRT’s

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The experiences with Bt cotton, shows that over a period of time the total pesticide usage in GM crops has gone up due to increased secondary pest attacks and in some cases due to tolerance developed by the target pest. What if the targeted insect develops immunity in future? Development of resistance is a fact of evolution and this is definitely going to happen in Bt over time. Overuse of the Bt gene and the planting of Bt crops in all crop seasons will ensure faster buildup of resistance in the pest and collapse of the Bt strategy of pest control. Effective non-pesticide pest management and Integrated Pest Management exists and is being practiced by farmers. Solanum melongena as female parent was crossable with S. macrocarpon as male. The fertility of F 1 progeny ranged from a complete absence of flower to the production of few seeds. F 1 hybrids showed resistance to Leucinodes orbonalis ( Schaff et. al. 1980). 47 Arguments Against Bt Brinjal Anonymous, 2010

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Soil Impact

Soil impact:

Soil impact Arguments made in favour of Bt Brinjal Arguments made against Bt Brinjal The soil impact studies assessed the presence of Bt protein in soil at regular intervals in the rhizosphere and non- rhizosphere zones from plots where Bt brinjal plants and non-Bt brinjal plants were cultivated. The introduction of Bt cotton has led to rapid depletion of nutrients and microorganisms from the soil. The study reported half-life of Cry IAc protein to be 9.3 to 40 days depending on the soil types. The fertility of the soil has been reduced and has practically disappeared after cultivating Bt cotton for a few years. Bt protein was undetectable at all time/points in the study. Limited environmental studies on soil microflora in the rhizosphere . Also, no differences were reported in cultivable bacterial and fungal populations, collembola and earthworm populations and soil nematode populations in Bt and non-Bt brinjal fields. It is almost impossible through a few species measurements to get a whole view of a complicated ecosystem, moreover varying a lot from place to place in India. Pesticides can move off-site contaminating surface and groundwater and possibly causing adverse impacts on aquatic ecosystems. Soil pollution will also occur due to shoots and leaves falling on the ground. Bt Brinjal LST’s, IIVR, 2009

Reasons for Imposing Moratorium on Bt Brinjal:

Reasons for Imposing Moratorium on Bt Brinjal

Reasons for Imposing Moratorium on Bt Brinjal:

Reasons for Imposing Moratorium on Bt Brinjal India is the Centre of Origin of brinjal , no GM version of any crop has been introduced in its Centre of Origin anywhere in the world. Due to gene pollution, the biodiversity present in brinjal may gets disturbed. No independent research to prove the safety of Bt Brinjal exists. Further, no long-term or human feeding studies exist. The Cry toxin is a chimeric protein of Cry IAc and Cry IAb, and designated Ccry IA. They have used Cry IAc instead of Ccry IA in the experiments used to support risk assessments. 51 Anonymous, 2010

Reasons for Imposing Moratorium on Bt Brinjal:

There is no shortage of brinjal . We overproduce it. There are alternative ways of managing pests that use little or no chemicals and are free of catastrophic risks. No effective Insect Resistance Management (IRM) in preventing the development of resistance in BFSB against Bt toxins. There is a lack of large-scale publicly funded biotechnology effort in agriculture to compete with Monsanto’s expertise. Monsanto will take control over brinjal production in India as it happen in the case of Bt cotton. 52 Anonymous, 2010 Reasons for Imposing Moratorium on Bt Brinjal

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Cash benefit of Rs 16,000-19,000 per acre and Rs 2,000 crore to our nation Non-Bt Non-Bt Benefits to Farmers Bt

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Brinjal is an important vegetable crop in India. The yield losses due to fruit and shoot borer is very high in this crop. The secondary and tertiary gene pool is not readily usable for the genetic improvement of the crop as it is not crossable with brinjal. The alternative left is to go for transgenic in order to combat the borer problem. There are various issues concern with the Bt brinjal. Scientists are making efforts to find out reasonable solution of the issues related with commercial releases of Bt brinjal. There is need to conserve wide biodiversity (land races) prevailing in this crop. Conclusion 54

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The adoption of IPM technology is still low owing to a number of socio-economic, institutional and policy constraints. Therefore, this Bt technology may have more scope with respect to minimize the insecticidal cost and eco friendly management. Varieties with disease and pest resistant through Bt have gained quite controversy. Under prevailing Indian economical and ecological conditions, decision making for the use of novel Bt binjal still needs a serious thought. Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) Brinjal has some obvious advantages. It also has some apparent and some potential problems. Sole promotion of Bt Brinjal may lead to a monoculture with unpredictable and irreversible environmental and health hazards. At the same time there is an emerging consensus that modern petrochemical- based farming is unsustainable and there is a need to develop and promote ecological approaches to food production. Current scenario reflects that Bt Brinjal can be most effective when they are used as part of IPM strategies. Future Thrust 55

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