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Not so scientific: BT brinjal report full of errors

Feb 01, 2010 09:19 AM IST India India
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New Delhi: After global warming BT brinjal may also turn out to be a scientific fraud.

CNN-IBN has evidence to show that the much-hyped genetically modified version of the brinjal has the same protein content as the regular version.

CNN-IBN accessed the bio-safety data submitted by Mahyco to GEAC and in one of the crucial texts based on which the expert committee gave the go ahead to BT brinjal.

The section on protein estimation in cooked brinjal says that uncooked non BT brinjal also tested positive for BT protein.

The question is how can a non BT brinjal have BT protein?

"Non BT brinjal uncooked is positive for toxins. Does it make sense? Something like this happens when you actually manipulate it. So when you manipulate data then you are making changes and you forget to make some change somewhere," said SC's independent nominee to the GEAC Dr Pushpa Bhargava.

When the claim was pointed out to the GEAC, it said that this was a typographical error.

But critics say, it just exposes the cut-and-paste manner of very crucial research.

Controversy also surrounds the toxicity of the CRY 1 AC protein present in raw BT brinjal but the expert committee says when brinjal is cooked the protein disappears.

But what about raw BT brinjal?

"Raw brinjal is used in Siddha and Ayurvedic system of medicine. Very small part even one in a billion if it is accumulated in the body for a long time, it may produce other auto immune disorders," claimed siddha physician Dr G Sivaraman.

Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar says that the view of the expert committee should be final.

"If after all precautions they have come to the conclusion that this is beneficiary, we should not oppose it," Pawar said.

But even the chairperson of the expert committee conceded that more tests could have been done.

"If more tests were done and if there was a subtle or harmful effect it would have come out. However, regulatory authorities have not prescribed them for a long time," said chairperson of the expert committee, Dr Arjula Reddy.

The scientific evidence supporting the claim that BT brinjal is safe for human consumption is not conclusive and unambiguous which is why, even as Jairam Ramesh holds public consultations, 10 states have already said no to BT brinjal for now.

The question on everyone's mind is what is the need for BT brinjal?

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