World’s First Genetically Modified Rubber: Assam

  • IASbaba
  • June 26, 2021
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World’s First Genetically Modified Rubber: Assam

Part of: GS Prelims and GS III – Sci and tech 

In news 

  • Recently, the world’s first Genetically Modified (GM) rubber plant developed by Rubber Research Institute was planted in Assam.

About the GM Rubber

  • Genetic modification (GM) technology allows the transfer of genes for specific traits between species using laboratory techniques.
  • The GM rubber has additional copies of the gene MnSOD, or manganese-containing superoxide dismutase, inserted in the plant, which is expected to tide over the severe cold conditions during winter in the northeast.
  • Why is it done? 
    • Natural rubber is a native of warm humid Amazon forests and is not naturally suited for the colder conditions in the Northeast, which is one of the largest producers of rubber in India.
    • Growth of young rubber plants remains suspended during the winter months. This is the reason for the long immaturity period of this crop in the region.

About natural rubber

  • Rubber is made from the latex of a tree called Hevea Brasiliensis.
  • It is an equatorial crop, but under special conditions, it is also grown in tropical and sub-tropical areas.
  • Temperature: Above 25°C with moist and humid climate.
  • Rainfall: More than 200 cm.
  • Soil Type: Rich well drained alluvial soil.
  • Cheap and adequate supply of skilled labour is needed for this plantation crop.
  • India is currently the sixth largest producer of NR in the world. 
  • Top Rubber Producing States: Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka.
  • Government Initiatives
    • Rubber Plantation Development Scheme and Rubber Group Planting Scheme 
    • 100% FDI in plantations of rubber, coffee, tea, cardamom, palm oil tree and olive oil tree.
  • Major Producers Globally: Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, China and India.
  • Major Consumers: China, India, USA, Japan, Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia.

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