IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


28th February, 2023 Science and Technology

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  • The Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) has approved confined field trials for Pink Bollworm-resistant GM cotton in Hisar, Haryana.

What are GM Crops?

  • GM food involves the editing of genes of a crop in such a way that it incorporates beneficial traits from another crop or organism.
  • This could mean changing the way the plant grows, or making it resistant to a particular disease.
  • Food produced using the edited crop is called GM food. This is done using the tools of genetic engineering.

Read about the pros and cons of GM Crops over here: https://www.iasgyan.in/daily-current-affairs/gm-crops-40

Bt Cotton


  • Strains of the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis produce over 200 different Bt toxins, each harmful to different insects.
  • Most notably, Bt toxins are insecticidal to the larvae of moths and butterfliesbeetlescotton bollworms and flies but are harmless to other forms of life.
  • The gene coding for Cry group of endotoxin has been inserted into cotton as a transgene, causing it to produce this natural insecticide in its tissues.

Bt Cotton in India

  • The GEAC had approved the use of the BT cotton, a genetically modified variety of cotton, in 2002 to combat this pest. It was introduced to India to reduce farmers’ insecticide use.
  • Research by University of Manchester shows that the effects of Bt cotton on farmers’ yield vary across Indian states, but most states show a decrease in insecticide use since the introduction of Bt cotton. A reduction in insecticide use may be beneficial for farmers’ health and the environmentby reducing pollutants. 

Concerns raised

  • By 2009, the Pink Bollworm had started to develop a resistance to the protein, necessitating further study into GM cotton.
  • Bt cotton has little effect on cotton yield, and although it may have led to an initial reduction in insecticide use, this effect is now diminishing due to insecticide-resistance in insect populations.
  • Also, Bt cotton is ineffective against many cotton pests such as plant bugs, stink bugs, and aphids.

The recent nod to Pink Bollworm-Resistant GM Cotton trials

  • The new variety's Cry2ai gene, which confers pest resistance on the cotton and is also derived from the bacterium Bacillus Thuringiensis.
  • The two genes and the proteins they generate do, however, differ from one another. While Cry2Ai targets a wider variety of insects, including some coleopteran (beetle) and dipteran (fly) species, Cry1Ac primarily targets lepidopteran insects (moths and butterflies).


  • Pink Ballworm is a significant issue for the cotton industry in India and is regarded as one of the most destructive pests of cotton globally.
  • The cotton yield and quality are decreased as a result of the Pink Bollworm larvae feeding on the seeds and fibres found inside cotton bolls.
  • Approval for trials from the GEAC, could be a significant step towards combating this destructive pest.


Q) Resistance to insecticides and to Bt toxins in pink bollworm are running havoc on Indian cotton industry. Comment.