Herbicide-Tolerant Rice Varieties

  • IASbaba
  • September 29, 2021
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Herbicide-Tolerant Rice Varieties

Part of: Prelims and GS III – Cropping patterns

Context Recently, the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) has developed the country’s first-ever non-GM (genetically modified) herbicide-tolerant rice varieties (Pusa Basmati 1979 and Pusa Basmati 1985).

  • These varieties can be directly seeded and significantly save water and labour compared to conventional transplanting.
  • ICAR-IARI is a deemed university.

About the New Varieties of Rice:

  • The new varieties contain a mutated AcetoLactate Synthase (ALS) gene making it possible for farmers to spray Imazethapyr, a broad-spectrum herbicide, to control weeds.
    • Imazethapyr, effective against a range of broadleaf, grassy and sedge weeds, can’t be used on normal paddy, as the chemical does not distinguish between the crop and the invasive plants.
  • The plants can now “tolerate” application of the herbicide, and hence it kills only the weeds.
  • It is important to note that, as there is no foreign gene involved in the process, the herbicide-tolerance is through mutation breeding. Thus, it is not a Genetically modified organism.

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