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What is genetic engineering in agriculture?
With the help of modern plant biotechnological tools, we now have access to vast gene pools that can be used to confer desirable features on economically significant crops. Crops developed by genetic engineering can be utilised to increase yields, nutritional quality, and resistance to a variety of biotic and abiotic challenges.
Advantages and disadvantages-
Genetic engineering, including gene editing, has numerous benefits:
• faster and more precise breeding
• higher crop yields
• development of more nutritious food
• decreased need for herbicides and pesticides.
These genetically modified crops allow farmers to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, since less herbicide is applied and the crops can be grown using low- or no-till farming, farmers use less fuel during cultivation. Additionally, these reduced tillage practices increase soil carbon sequestration by leaving soils undisturbed and allowing them to retain more water and organic matter.
However, it also comes with its own problems. Genetically engineered crops become pest tolerant and their overuse has made plants pest resistant. Seed contamination is another problem of genetic engineering. It can occur from wind that is blown from genetically engineered crops to normal crops.
Genetically modified crops in India-
So far, India has approved only one other GM crop for commercial cultivation: GM cotton in 2002. In 2009, GEAC cleared transgenic aubergine or eggplant, also called Bt brinjal, for evaluation. Unfortunately, that effort stalled following a strong public backlash and the recommendations of aubergine-growing Indian states.
The latest GEAC approval allows for the environmental release of two varieties of genetically engineered mustard for developing new parental lines and hybrids under the supervision of the Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR).

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