GMOs and Pakistan


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GMOs and Pakistan

  2. 2. INTRODuCTION What is gene?  Every plant and animal is made of cells, each of which has a center called a nucleus. Inside every nucleus there are strings of DNA.  Short sequences of DNA are called genes.  These genes operate in complex networks that are finely regulated to enable the processes of living organisms to happen in the right place and at the right time. 
  4. 4. WHAT'S A GMO? A GMO (genetically modified organism) is the result of a laboratory process of taking genes from one species and inserting them into another in an attempt to obtain a desired trait or characteristic, hence they are also known as transgenic organisms.  This process may be called either Genetic Engineering (GE) or Genetic Modification (GM); they are one and the same.  Organisms that have been genetically modified include micro-organisms such as bacteria and yeast, plants, fish, and mammals.
  6. 6. GMOS AND GENETIC ENGINEERING    GMOs are the source of genetically modified food, and are also widely used in scientific research and to produce goods other than food. The term GMO is very close to the technical legal term, 'living modified organism' defined in the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, which regulates international trade in living GMOs (specifically, "any living organism that possesses a novel combination of genetic material obtained through the use of modern biotechnology"). The general principle of producing a GMO is to add new genetic material into an organism's genome. This is called genetic engineering and was made possible through the discovery of DNA and the creation of the first recombinant DNA molecules by Paul Berg in 1972.
  7. 7. CURRENTLY AVAILABLE GMOS  Few multinational biotech companies holding the GM market (Monsanto, Novartis, Syngenta, Dupont, Bayer)  Main producers: USA, Argentina, Canada, Brazil  35 GMOs on market in European Union  GM food: tomato, potato, soybean, corn, wheat
  8. 8. GMOS IN PAKISTAN GMOs prepared in Pakistan: Tomato, sugarcane, soybean, cotton.  No standards for GM food in Pakistan  Insufficient scientific certainty about safety of GM food  GM food mixed with non-GM food  No government policy for labeling  Presently, no government initiative for awareness on GMOs 
  9. 9. AGRICULTURE BASED COUNTRY Pakistan is an agriculture based country with more than 47% of its population dependant on agriculture as a means of livelihood.  This sector contributes 24% to gross domestic product (GDP). Agriculture alone contributes about 70% of its foreign exchange. Unless it maintains stable growth rates, its economy will suffer immensely.  Pakistan is an agricultural supplier that not only meets its requirements but also exports crop to few countries which involves our neighbor countries, as well as the Middle East and several Central Asian Republics.  However, over the recent years, Pakistan is facing some serious challenges on the horizon of which drought, salinity, stress and climate changes are the most important ones. 
  10. 10.  All these issues have raised questions over the food security issues in Pakistan and other parts of the world. The population of Pakistan is about 180 million which is estimated to rise to 240 million by the year 2035. To tackle these challenges, one approach that has been used in the world and to some extent in Pakistan is the genetically modified organisms.
  11. 11. STATUS OF GMOS IN PAKISTAN The only GM crop approved and grown in Pakistan is the Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) cotton.  The regions in which Bt cotton was grown included Bahawalpur, Multan, Muzaffer Garh and Karor Pakka, and the farmers tested these crops against its resistance and susceptibility to different insects high temperature, drought and yield and then compared it with traditional cotton varieties grown in similar areas.  There have been few benefits observed by the farmers of these regions and it could be concluded from the results that the GM crops may solve a few issues of Pakistan, such as enhanced production and disease resistance. cotton mainly grown in the southern Punjab. 
  13. 13. GENETICALLY MODIFIED RICE Recently a Pakistani scientist, Dr. Fida Abbasi has developed a new rice strains which is able to increase the rice production of the country.  By applying this technology the number of grains per panicle of rice plant had been increased from 250 to 700.  According to him, the production had been increased from 5 tons per hectare to 15 tons per hectare, while new strains of rice was 6 feet tall with a thick stem, large and heavy panicle of 50 centimeters and would bear 700 grains.  He claimed such kind of rice does not exist in the world and this rice could be grown by using less water. It is to be mentioned here that Pakistan is the world’s fourth largest producer of rice after china, India and Indonesia. 
  14. 14. CONVENTIONS AND PROTOCOL National Bio-safety guidelines in Pakistan prepared in November 1999 by National Biosafety Committee  Only one consultative meeting held in January 2001  Executive meeting held in January 2005 chaired by the Prime Minister  Pakistan has also notified the Pakistan Biosafety rules on 21st April, 2005 in order to get the maximum benefits from the GMO technology but at the same time ensuring the safety of humans and the environment.  These rules are responsible to govern the manufacture, import and storage of genetically modified organisms. 
  15. 15.  National Biosafety Guidelines is built on the following three tiers; (1) National Biosafety Committee (NBC)  (2) Technical Advisory Committee (TAC)  (3) Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC)  The secretary, Ministry of Environment, is responsible to head the National Biosafety Center and looks after the laboratory work, field trial, commercial release, export, import, sale and purchase of GMOs and their products.  Pakistan has fulfilled all the documentation procedure at the perspectives of Cartagena protocol. The Ministry of Environment developed the guidelines for GMOs in May 2005 to organize laboratory research, field studies and commercial release of GMOs and their products. 
  16. 16. ADVANTAGES OF GMOS  There are certain benefits associated with growing GM crops as compared to the traditional crops. Herbicide tolerance  Disease resistance  Drought tolerance/ salinity tolerance  Overcoming malnutrition  Carbon sink and climate change 
  17. 17. DISADVANTAGES OF GMOS There are a number of risks associated with biotechnology:  Allergenicity  Unintended harm to other organisms  Gene transfer to non-target species  Effect on population and ecosystem  Interaction with non-alien (natural) species  Loss of ecosystem services  Impact on agro industry production system  Market based dependency and food security  Economic / export loss concerns  Religious and ethical values
  18. 18. CONCLUSION The genetically modified organisms can help in food production, drought resistance, climate change mitigation and disease resistance, but in addition it may produce number of threats at gene, individual, population and ecosystem level. They can also have an impact on the agro industry of developing countries.  The GMOs can be complementary to the traditional crops but by no means can they replace the traditional crops. The world must ensure that the standards are followed in using the GMOs and are being continuously monitored.  The developing countries like Pakistan should ensure strong scientific capacity and research based approach in the field of genetically modified organisms. 
  19. 19. The Pakistan Environmental Protection Agency should fully concentrate and equip their manpower in growing emerging technology (biotechnology), and they must completely analyze risk assessment before introducing GM from other countries.  Furthermore, Pakistan must concentrate on synthetic biology as an alternative to the emerging field of biotech-nology, as it poses least risk as compared to traditional biotechnology.  The European Union and USA also promote its expertise in synthetic biology. Therefore, it is need of the hour to promote the research in this area in Pakistan as a powerful replacement to traditional biotechnology. 
  20. 20. THANKS!!! THE END