Now, it is protein packed GM potato
The humble potato, which is consumed as a staple food in many parts of the world and yet considered as a major source of carbohydrate are changing their course. All credit goes to the Delhi based National Institute of Plant Genomic Research (NIPGR) and its team of scientists. The team has developed a genetically modified (GM) potato which they claim is packed with up to 60 per cent more protein than an ordinary tuber. The potato variant created was also found to have increased levels of essential amino acids, notably lysine, tyrosine and sulphur, which are usually limited in potatoes. Apart from that, the newly developed transgenic also had more yield per hectare compared to ordinary potatoes and in field trials, the crops have produced 15 to 25 per cent more potatoes per hectare. The scientists inserted the gene called AmA1 (Amaranth Albumin 1) into seven types of potatoes and then grew the transgenic potatoes over two years. They found that there was a 35-60 per cent increase in total protein content in all varieties of the transgenic potatoes. The researchers carried out tests on rats and rabbits and found that the new crop has no toxic or allergic effects on them.
The findings has been published in the journal ''Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences'', the scientists said these transgenic potatoes will gain much public acceptance than other genetically-modified crops as it uses a gene from another edible crop, the amaranth seed. These potatoes have to be cleared by biotech regulators before introduction for commercialisation. But the need is to develop proper scientific module, public awareness about the whole developmental process and finally the various impact assessment studies for the transgenic, so that it may not end up in the Bt Brinjal like situation.