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Scientists, experts challenge govt’s GM mustard yield data

Scientists, experts challenge govt’s GM mustard yield data

Amid the central government’s claim of 28 per cent higher yield of GM mustard in the Rajya Sabha, former government scientists and agriculture experts have accused the government of fiddling with GM DMH -11 data. - File photo



Tribune News Service

Karam Prakash

New Delhi, December 10

Amid the central government’s claim of 28 per cent higher yield of GM mustard in the Rajya Sabha, former government scientists and agriculture experts have accused the government of fiddling with GM DMH -11 data. The government is said to have claimed that there is 28 per cent higher yield of GM mustard than that of other varieties.

Dr SE Pawar, who has worked at nuclear agriculture & bio-technology division of Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, said, “DMH-11, tested in national programme during 2006 in the yield-evaluation trials at eight locations, has already indicated that it is not at all superior to earlier non-GM CMS DMH-1. Moreover, DMH-11 has a small seed size, which is not preferred from the standpoint of oil recovery.”

Pawar, who has recently written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to stop the field trials of GM mustard, said Herbicide Tolerance (HT) genes, embedded in the GM mustard, would facilitate the spraying of a herbicide, glufosinate ammonium, which is detrimental to health.

Union Minister Jitendra Singh informed the Rajya Sabha GM Mustard hybrid Dhara Mustard Hybrid-11 (DMH-11) had showed over 28 per cent more yield than the national check and 37 per cent more than the zonal checks. Agriculture expert Devinder Sharma said GM DMH-11 should be called “junk variety” of the mustard.

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