Varsity in Punjab develops pest-resistant Bt cotton type

The Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) recently claimed it has developed a new variety of genetically modified Bt cotton seed that is pest-resistant and has a better shelf life for use in subsequent sowing seasons. The variety is in the final stages of getting notified by the central sub-committee on crop standards, notification and release of varieties.

The sub-committee functions under the ministry of agriculture. The new variety is resistant to pests such as American bollworm, pink bollworm, spotted bollworm and tobacco caterpillar, according to experts at the university. The farmers will not have to buy seeds every sowing season as well.

Pankaj Rathore, director, PAU’s regional research station (Faridkot), told a top Indian newspaper that the variety has undergone trials at the Indian Council for Agriculture Research (ICAR) and was also supervised by the All India Coordinated Cotton Improvement Project.

Trials were held in Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan where the new variety showed excellent results. Once it is notified, the university will start its own field trials on a larger scale, Rathore added.

The new Bt-II variety has two genes while the Bt-I the university launched in 2018 had only a single gene.

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