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Gene Edited Low-Pungent Mustard

Context:

Recently, Indian scientists developed the first ever Gene edited low-pungent mustard that is pest and disease-resistant.

Relevance:

GS III: Science and Technology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Issues with Mustard Seeds
  2. Gene Editing Breakthrough
  3. Impact

Issues with Mustard Seeds:

  • Rapeseed-mustard is a significant oilseed crop in India.
  • Mustard seeds contain high levels of glucosinolates, compounds responsible for pungency in oil and meal.
  • Glucosinolates make rapeseed meal unpalatable to animals and can cause health issues like goiter in livestock.

Gene Editing Breakthrough:

  • Researchers focused on glucosinolate transporter (GTR) genes responsible for glucosinolate accumulation in mustard seeds.
  • 12 GTR genes categorized into GTR1 and GTR2 classes play a role in transporting glucosinolates to seeds.
  • Using CRISPR/Cas9 gene-editing tool, 10 out of 12 GTR genes in the ‘Varuna’ mustard variety were edited.
  • This disrupted the functioning of proteins responsible for transporting glucosinolates to seeds.
Outcome and Benefits:
  • By editing GTR genes, glucosinolate content in seeds was reduced, matching canola-quality rapeseed.
  • Mustard lines with lower glucosinolate content were developed, providing oil and meal similar to canola.
  • The new mustard lines are transgene-free, without foreign genes, ensuring they are non-genetically modified (GM).

Impact:

  • Gene-edited mustard holds potential to address pungency and palatability issues in rapeseed meal.
  • Livestock feed intake can be improved, avoiding health problems and reducing the need for mixing with fodder grass.
  • This breakthrough can contribute to enhancing the quality and utility of domestically grown oilseeds in India.

-Source: Indian Express


March 2024
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