India nears putting GM mustard on the table

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Science  27 May 2016:
Vol. 352, Issue 6289, pp. 1043
DOI: 10.1126/science.352.6289.1043

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Six years after it backed down from approving cultivation of a transgenic food crop, India's government is trying again. But it is encountering stiff headwinds as it mulls whether to approve what would be India's first such crop, a genetically modified (GM) mustard. Environmentalists argue that the mustard, grown for its edible leaves and for cooking oil, could harm local varieties and that the toxicity tests being carried out to evaluate GM mustard's safety as a food are inadequate. Heightening suspicion, regulators have repeatedly spurned calls to release biosafety data. But India's environment minister, Prakash Javadekar, is determined to open the door to GM food technologies, saying they can help ensure food security and that rejecting them is like "saying 'no' to science."

  • * in Bangalore, India

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