World’s first GM rubber sapling planted in Assam

What is the News? 

Rubber Board has planted the world’s first genetically modified (GM) rubber at its Sarutari research farm in Guwahati, Assam. 

About GM Rubber Crop: 
  • GM Rubber Crop has been developed at the Rubber Research Institute of India (RRII) in Kerala. 
How was GM Rubber developed? 
  • GM rubber was developed by inserting the MnSOD (manganese containing superoxide dismutase) gene which was taken from the rubber plant itself. 
What was the need of GM Rubber? 
  • Natural rubber is a native of warm humid Amazon forests and is not naturally suited for the colder conditions in the Northeast which is one of the largest producers of rubber in India. Due to this, the growth of young rubber plants remains suspended during the winter months. This leads to progressive drying of the soil. 
  • However, the GM rubber plants are expected to overcome the severe cold conditions during winter which is a major factor affecting the growth of young rubber plants. Hence, this is the reason GM Rubber crop has been developed. 
Significance of GM Rubber: 
  • Firstly, the GM Rubber is the first GM crop developed exclusively for the North-East. 
  • Secondly, GM Rubber has the ability to protect itself from the adverse effects of severe environmental stresses such as cold, drought among others. 
  • Thirdly, there are no plant species in India that can breed with natural rubber. Therefore, there is no risk of genes flowing from GM rubber into any native species, a concern often raised by environmental groups. 

Source: The Hindu 

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