Controversy grows over India's genetically modified potato
- By: Ganapati Mudur
A genetically modified potato developed in India to contain extra protein is under attack, with opponents claiming that it will result in the neglect of traditional sources of protein and thus exacerbate protein deficiency.
A senior Indian biotechnology official said last week that the potato, which has undergone nearly three years of field trials, could be approved for commercial cultivation before the end of this year.
Dr Manju Sharma, India's biotechnology secretary, said that the results of the field trial results were very encouraging and that the government would like to use the potato to reduce protein deficiency.
The potato, which was developed by scientists at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, expresses 40% more protein than wild or cultivated potatoes. The potato has been engineered with a gene, AmA1, from the amaranth plant, a grain that has been consumed for centuries in central America and Asia.
The potato is