New Chickpea Variety Developed

In News

Indian scientists have developed a new drought-tolerant chickpea variety.

In-Detail

  • The development of the new chickpea variety is a collaborative effort of scientists from National Institute of Plant Genome Research, New Delhi, University of Hyderabad and Indian Institute of Pulses Research.
  • The new variety is a genetically modified variety.
  • It has a high tolerance to drought and has high iron and zinc content in the seeds due to the modifications made in the plant’s growth substance called cytokinin in the root.
  • Cytokinin and Auxin are two major plant hormones that regulate root development.
  • In the new variety, scientists expressed a gene for an enzyme called cytokinin oxidase 6 (CKX6).
  • This enzyme degrades cytokinin under a root-specific promoter (P WRKY31) in chickpea.
  • Researchers found that limiting the cytokinin activity led to roots growing deep in the soil and acquiring more water and nutrients from the soil during drought.
  • As such, the plants acquired more resources from the soil, lived longer and produced more seeds.
  • Also, the result of this long and branched root system is high iron and zinc content in the seeds.
  • According to the scientists, yield loss in chickpea can be reduced by following this cytokinin-manipulated enhancement of root system combined with traditional breeding practices.

Threat of Genetic Modification

  • As per the researchers, the gene and promoter both were from the chickpea itself.
  • This means that there is no threat of genetic modification harming humans.
  • In many cases of genetic modifications in food crops across the world, genes from specific bacterial species were used.
  • This usage has led to many questioning the harmfulness of such food crops to human consumption.
  • In India too, there is a ban on genetically modified food crops.
  • Only Bt cotton, which is genetically modified with genes taken from bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) is allowed for growing in the country.

Importance of Chickpea

  • Chickpea, also know as benga gram, is one of the major sources of protein for people in the country.
  • The crop is grown mainly in semi-arid regions post-monsoon season.
  • In such conditions, the crop faces the threat of drought and yields dropping.
  • There is thus a need for the development of drought-tolerant chickpea varieties with high yields.
  • The new variety well suits the prevailing chickpea cultivation conditions in the country and will help farmers earn better returns with high yields.
  • India already ranks first in the cultivation of Chickpea in the world.

Best IAS Institute in Delhi, Best IAS Academy in Delhi, Best IAS Coaching in Delhi

About Classic IAS Academy 389 Articles
Classic IAS Academy is at the forefront of providing best IAS coaching in delhi, India. The Academy helps the aspirants to tap their innate analytical power to become successful in the exam.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply