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Crop Biotech Update

Bt Cotton Varieties Approved in Pakistan

November 27, 2009

The Government of Pakistan has officially approved genetically modified crops for cultivation in the country. Pakistan's Ministry of Environment, Environment Protection Agency and National Biosafety Committee in a meeting cleared two Bt cotton varieties for commercial release. The Bt cotton varieties, CEMB-1 and CEMB-2, were developed by scientists at the Centre of Excellence in Molecular Biology (CEMB) of the Punjab University. These varieties were recommended by Pakistan Central Cotton Committee (PCCC) after more than two years of testing.

The Daily Times in an article cited an undisclosed source as saying that a total of 10 Bt cotton varieties including the approved two varieties might be commercialized in the country. The article also noted that currently, more than 44 genetically modified cotton varieties are being cultivated in the country without government approval. The Bt cotton varieties, awaiting approval from the Punjab Seed Council, will be available for the next cultivation season (Kharif 2010).

The Daily Times article is available at http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2009%5C11%5C26%5Cstory_26-11-2009_pg5_10 . For more information on biotechnology developments in Pakistan, contact Dr. Iqbal Choudhary iqbal.choudhary@iccs.edu of the Pakistan Biotech Information Center.