The jinn of the insect-killer Bt gene is now out and cannot be reined in. Ways and means are now available for farmers to use Bt toxin to protect their crops from boll-worms without using the controversial transgenic seeds that are being developed by multinational companies at huge costs and being frowned upon by the green lobby. Indeed, farmers can now by-pass the fastidious Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC), which, for fear of environmental activists, is delaying granting permission to the genetically modified (GM) seeds containing this toxin-producing gene obtained from omnipresent soil bacteria Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis). The Nagpur-based Central Institute for Cotton Research (CICR) of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) has developed a simple contraption to enable farmers to produce Bt toxin on their own.
Gene-based pest control
by Surinder Sud, The Business Standard, 01 July, 2003