Bt Brinjal! What the hell is Bt Brinjal?

One of the most common vegetables, Brinjal’s genetically modified version is called Bt Brinjal. The proposed introduction of Bt Brinjal into India has generated a lot of controversy, as the genetically modified brinjal can supposedly be a serious health hazard.

Bt Brinjal

The main idea behind the introduction of the genetic version of brinjal is to make it more resistant to diseases. A gene known as Cry 1Ac from the soil bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) is inserted into the ordinary brinjal to create the Bt brinjal. Brinjal crops are mostly destroyed because of insects like the brinjal fruit, shoot borer and fruit borer. this gene is said to mess up with the digestive system of these worms and hence protect the Brinjal.

Several experts have however raised objections stating that the modified genetic version can be bad for human consumption. A case in point is European Union’s ban of all genetically modified versions of food items. Some say it’s heavy lobbying by foreign manufacturers which has forced India to take this decision. However, Indian Govt insists that it’s all suitable for humans and that the only intention to introduce the version is to lead to reduction in use of pesticides by farmers, and also help them increase their yield.

For now, the eight major producers of Brinjal in India, which includes West Bengal, Orissa, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Bihar and Andhra Pradesh, have said they won’t allow the introduction of the genetic version.

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