[Answered] Compare and contrast genome-edited (GE) crops with genetically modified (GM) crops. Discuss the implications of Genome-Edited (GE) crops for agricultural innovation in India.

Introduction: Give definition of GM & GE crops.

Body: Difference between GE crops with GM crops. What is the implication of GE crops for agricultural innovation in India?

Conclusion: Way forward.

In GM crops, foreign genes are inserted into a plant’s DNA to introduce specified features, such as pest resistance or herbicide tolerance. In GE crops, the plant’s DNA is precisely altered, without the introduction of foreign DNA, by deleting, adding, or changing a few selected genes.

Difference between contrasting genome-edited (GE) crops with genetically modified (GM) crops:

  • Method used: The foreign genes are frequently introduced into the plant’s genome via bacterial or viral vectors in traditional GM techniques. Genome editing methods like CRISPR-Cas9 are frequently utilized because they enable precise, targeted alterations.
  • Regulation: GM crops have faced public and regulatory scrutiny due to concerns about potential unintended effects and the use of antibiotic resistance markers. Regulatory approaches to GE crops vary by country, and some countries may regulate them differently than traditional GM crops.
  • Commercial Use: In India, GM crops are currently subject to strict “environmental release” laws, including for field testing and seed production in addition to commercial farming. Such release is subject to approval from the MoEFCC unique Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC). On the other hand, GE plants that are “free of exogenously introduced DNA” have been exempted by MoEFCC from the need for GEAC approval for open field trials leading to commercial release.

What is the implication of GE crops for agricultural innovation in India?

  • Reduce impact on the environment: Reduced pesticide and water use from GE crops with features like insect resistance or drought tolerance could be good for the environment and farmers’ livelihoods.
  • Improved crop varieties: Using GE technology, scientists can create crop types with specific modifications, such as increased nutritional value, disease resistance, and abiotic stress tolerance. This might boost India’s food security and agricultural output.
  • Fast breeding process: GE technology permits quicker production of crop varieties with desired features than conventional breeding techniques. This might hasten the introduction of enhanced varieties to address new problems.
  • Customized Crops: GE technology can be tailored to suit local agro-climatic conditions, potentially leading to the development of region-specific crop varieties optimized for Indian conditions.


Genome-Edited (GE) is very important for a country like India which is a huge importer of edible oils. The massive import bill forces India to boost domestic oilseeds production through focused breeding to improve crop yields, pest and disease resistance, and product quality. The recent example of GM hybrid mustard and the new GE low-seed high-leaf glucosinolate lines can be seen as major plant breeding advancements that can go some way towards bringing down the dependence on imported vegetable oils.

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