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Triple-gene cotton for cost-effective pest control in agriculture

by Gee Tv
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Economic Impact: Anticipated Savings of Approximately 170 Billion Rupees Annually for Farmers

In the field of agriculture, a significant initiative has been taken: A new variety of triple-gene cotton has been developed to combat pink bollworm and glyphosate. The seeds of this new triple-gene cotton variety are expected to reduce the production cost for farmers by approximately 170 billion rupees annually.

A team led by Professor Dr. Idris Ahmed Naseer and Professor Dr. Tayyab Husnain at the Punjab University Center of Excellence in Molecular Biology (CEMB) has created a new variety, 5C, of triple-gene cotton that has the capability to control all types of pests, especially the pink bollworm, which traditionally incurs a high control cost. The Punjab Seed Council has granted approval for the general cultivation of this new triple-gene variant, 5C. This technology, based on cotton breeding, represents a historic milestone for scientists at Punjab University and aims to enhance cotton production, strengthen the foundations of the Pakistani economy, and reduce costs.

This new cotton variety has been developed by Punjab University’s CEMB. It uses two genes for resistance against bollworm (Cry2Ae and Cry1Ac) and one gene for glyphosate resistance (GT/GH/CP4). The 5C cotton varieties reduce the need for pest control measures, thus saving costs and helping farmers increase their income. These cotton varieties, developed through cutting-edge science, are grown for the first time on approximately 70% of the total cotton cultivation area, aiding farmers in effectively managing pests on both cotton and cottonseed plants, and contributing to Pakistan’s self-sufficiency in cotton production.

This technology is expected to be a significant milestone in strengthening the economy, given that cotton, which is Pakistan’s highest-earning cash crop, forms the basis of the textile industry. S.M. Tanveer, Punjab’s Minister of Agriculture, Trade, and Industry, along with Professor Dr. Khalid Mahmood, the Vice-Chancellor of Punjab University, toured various laboratories involved in the application of biotechnology to agriculture. He congratulated the scientists on providing a new triple-gene variant that would benefit the farming community in Pakistan. The federal minister emphasized the importance of scientists’ role in national development, calling for the encouragement of scientific research projects.

Dr. Khalid Mahmood highlighted that CEMB scientists possess the full capability to address national issues; however, many projects require encouragement and funding. On this occasion, Director Dr. Muaz ur Rahman briefed on various research projects related to agriculture and health. He stated that CEMB would play an active role in solving various challenges faced by the country in the fields of agriculture and health.

Professor Dr. Abdul Qayyum Rao, the charge of the Plant Biotechnology Lab, stated that from highly successful initial experiments with genome editing technology, it has been demonstrated that this technology has the potential to revolutionize Pakistan’s agriculture. Dr. Allah Bakhsh, the lead researcher of the Cotton Breeding Program, mentioned that they would continue using these genetically modified lines in the CEMB breeding program to develop cotton varieties according to local weather conditions.

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