Questions and the Answers about the STATUS REPORT ON COTTON CROP AND IT’S PROSPECTS IN INDIA presented in 4th SC meeting of INCANA in Cairo
1-  The major areas of planting cotton under rainfed about 65% so this subjected to plant to grow under drought conditions and climate adversely. How to enhance the tolerant or productivity under this condition?
2-   Are you using biopesticides?
3-  Are you using biofertilizer?
(question by Dr. Alia Head of cotton physiology section – CRI Egypt – aliawithgou@yahoo.com).
(Questions 2 and 3 by Dr. Gaber M. Hemaida – cotton maintaining Research Section – Egypt)
Reply: Though more than 65% of total area under cotton in India is grown under rainfed situation, the major area under rainfed cotton receive well distributed rainfall during the cotton growth period.  This takes care of most of the water requirement during the critical growth period and hence productivity is mostly not affected.  Only when the monsoon fails adversely, the productivity gets affected.  Both biopesticides and biofertilizers are being recommended to the farmers in the package of practices and are being adopted by the farmers to some extent. But, generally farmers use inorganic fertilizers for nutritional requirement and chemical pesticides for managing pest and diseases.
4-  I want to know what the extent of research of transgenic of Glycine-gene to the cotton universities improvement?
5- How do you produce the Bt cotton hybrids? I don’t understand what you mean by Bt cotton hybrids, what is the techniques?
Reply: Bt cotton refers to the genetically modified cotton plants which carry the genes that code for crystal delta-endotoxin proteins of soil borne bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis.  These modified plants produce the toxic crystal proteins in various parts of plant like leaves, squares, flowers and bolls.  The early stage bollworm larvae which feed on these Bt cotton plants get killed, because the crystal proteins are highly toxic to Lepidopteran insects and selectively kill the bollworm larvae.  These crystal toxin proteins are highly selective against only lepidopeteran insect pests like Cotton bollworms and not to any other insects and other animals, human beings etc. Generally hybrids are produced in cotton by identifying suitable combination of parental lines which express high heterosis in F1 plants.  One of the parents of the potential heterotic hybrid is converted into Bt back ground and the Bt cotton hybrids are produced by crossing these parental lines.
     In India, transgenic cotton is mainly concentrated on developing insect resistant plants using crytal protein gene from soil borne bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis in both Public Sector Institutions and Private Sector R & D firms. So far, six events of genetically modified cotton have been approved in India and are listed in the following Table.
List of the Bt cotton events approved for cultivation in India
Event name Event number Source company/ Institution Genes Year of approval
Bollgard I MON 531 Monsanto cry1Ac 2002
Bollgard II MON 15985 Monsanto cry1Ac and cry2Ab 2006
Event 1 Event 1 IIT, Kharagpur Truncated cry1Ac 2006
GFM Cry1A GFM Cry1A Chinese Academy of Sciences cry1Ab+cry1Ac 2006
BN Bt BNLA 601 CICR, Nagpur & UAS, Dharwad Truncated cry1Ac 2008
MLS-9124 MLS-9124 Metahelix cry1C 2009
 
6-  The percentage of area of Bt cotton in India?
Reply: The area under Bt cotton hybrids in India during various years are given below.
Area of Bt cotton in India, by major state, from 2002 to 2009 (thousand hectares)
State 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
Maharashtra 25 30 200 607 1,840 2,800 3,130 3,396
Andhra Pradesh 8 10 75 280 830 1,090 1,320 1,049
Gujarat 10 36 122 150 470 908 1,360 1,682
Madhya Pradesh 2 13 80 146 310 500 620 621
Northern Region* - - - 60 215 682 840 1,243
Karnataka 3 4 18 30 85 145 240 273
Tamil Nadu 2 7 5 27 45 70 90 109
Others - - - - 5 5 5 8
Total area under Bt 50 100 500 1,300 3,800 6,200 7,605 8,381
Total area under Cotton 7670 7600 8790 8820 9140 9555 9373 10152
Percentage of area under Bt Cotton 0.7 1.3 5.7 14.7 41.6 64.9 81.1 82.5
* Punjab, Haryana & Rajasthan
7- If you have barbadence cotton? And area make Bt in the barbadence?
Reply: In India, there is a limited area (5000 ha) under cultivation with G. barbadense cotton variety Suvin to cater to the needs of textile mills for producing 100s count yarn and other higher counts yarn.  Apart from these varieties, there is a notable area under interspecific (hirsutum x barbadense) hybrids to cater to the needs of 80s count yarn.  In this category, both conventional hybrids (like DCH 32, Varalaxmi, etc.) and Bt cotton hybrids (like RCHB 708, MRC 6918, MRC 7918, Kashinath, NCHB 990, NCHB 992 etc., ) are under cultivation.  Research efforts are under progress to convert the G. barbadense cotton variety Suvin into Bt background.
 
 
8-  The technique of Bt?
Reply:  The genetic resistance, one of the important pest management strategies, is available in cotton gene pool against the sap sucking pests such as jassids, whitefly etc. and using this several resistant / tolerant varieties and hybrids have been developed and released in India.  However, such kind of known resistance is not available against the bollworms.  Hence, an alternate strategy is explored to circumvent this problem by cloning and transferring the genes encoding the toxic crystal δ - endo toxin protein from the soil bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis. The Bt transgenic cotton (Bollgard of Monsanto) has thus been developed successfully in USA, which has the ability to control the bollworms at the early stages of crop growth (upto 90 days) effectively.
      The first commercial Bt cotton variety was released in USA by M/S. Monsanto (Bollgard), which contains Cry 1Ac gene of Bacillus thuringiensis.  At present, the Bt cotton is commercially grown in several countries like China, Australia, Mexico, South Africa, Argentina, India, Indonesia etc.  
     The core genetic engineering experiments comprised isolation of gene from Bacillus thuringiensis and its further development to ensure its expression in the fully grown plant. The plasmid construct comprised:
        i. The cry1Ac gene, which encodes for insecticidal protein, Cry1Ac.
      ii. The 35S promoter from Cauliflower mosaic virus that drives expression of the cry1Ac gene in all parts of the plant leading to the production of Bt protein.
    iii.The nptII gene, the selectable marker, which encodes the enzyme neomycin phosphotransferase II (NPT II). It is used to select transformed cells/plants on media containing the antibiotic kanamycin.
    iv.The aad gene which encodes the bacterial selectable marker enzyme 3”(9)-O-aminglycoside adenyltransferase (AAD) and allows selection of bacteria containing the Cry1Ac plasmid on a medium containing spectinomycin or streptomycin.
              Cotton tissue cultures (variety Coker 312) were infected with the soil bacterium, Agrobacterium tumefaciens containing the plasmid with the above sequences.  The transformed cotton lines were screened to identify those with desirable insect control and agronomic performance.
In India, commercial cultivation of Bt cotton hybrids carrying Cry 1Ac gene was approved by the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) for the first time in March 26, 2002 after extensive field trials in both Research centres and in farmers’ field under isolation for two consecutive years in Central and South Zone states of India.  So far, six events of genetically modified cotton have been approved in India.
List of the Bt cotton events approved for cultivation in India
Event name Event number Source company/ Institution Genes Year of approval
Bollgard I MON 531 Monsanto cry1Ac 2002
Bollgard II MON 15985 Monsanto cry1Ac and cry2Ab 2006
Event 1 Event 1 IIT, Kharagpur Truncated cry1Ac 2006
GFM Cry1A GFM Cry1A Chinese Academy of Sciences cry1Ab+cry1Ac 2006
BN Bt BNLA 601 CICR, Nagpur & UAS, Dharwad Truncated cry1Ac 2008
MLS-9124 MLS-9124 Metahelix cry1C 2009
 



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