World’s First Genetically Modified Rubber: Assam
Part of: GS Prelims and GS III – Sci and tech
- 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.