The Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC)
that met on September 29, 2010, permitted confined field trial for
event selection on 12 transgenic rice hybrids to Dupont Knowledge
After detailed deliberation, the regulatory body approved the proposal
for only experimental event selection trials, during which the
applicant will generate detailed information on molecular data on
expression for alpha amylase in different tissues; data on segregation
of transgenic; and non-transgenic seeds in 1:1 ratio, and a validated
seed sorting mechanism for segregating transgenic versus non-transgenic
seeds will be developed.
The committee gave permission to conduct confined field trial for event
selection on transgenic rice events (Hybrid Rice SPT maintainer events)
generated using the SPT1 and SPT6 m constructs by Dupont Knowledge
Center, Hyderabad. It also allowed the company to conduct event
selection trials on transgenic rice events (Hybrid Rice SPT maintainer
events) generated using the SPT1 construct.
The events generated using SPT1 construct namely; JH 15b, JH 16a, JH
16b, JH 17, JH 25b, JH 26a, JH 36 of BC3 containing
ZM-AA1-Os-MSCA1-DsRED2 genes and SPT6 construct namely; J6-1-45a,
J6-1-8, J6-1-4d, J6-1-10b, J6-1-7d containing Os-MSCA1-ZM-AA1-DsRED2
genes will be evaluated.
The event selection trials will be conducted within the company’s owned
land/research farm in Bangalore, with the following reproductive
isolation measures are proposed: 200 m isolation distance from the last
row of transgenic plant on all four sides will be maintained, with
eight feet tall polythene sheets as barriers between each event.
During the deliberations, the committee noted the following points:
these events were developed by transforming M2O2 X T65 lines and then
back-crossed into VIR54G9. All events are single copy events. This
technology enables maintenance of male sterile, female parental lines
for use in hybrid seed production. The present proposal pertains to
hybrid rice seed production technology (SPT). It is a process that
facilitates large scale production of non-genetically modified male
sterile rice lines that can be used as female inbred parents, for
subsequent hybrid seed production.
The committee was of the view that the above technology being a
relatively a new one, a detailed presentation from the applicant would
be useful in understanding the genetic elements of the gene construct,
molecular data on expression for alpha amylase in different tissues and
data on segregation and sorting of transgenic and non-transgenic rice
The committee further opined that the decision on the next phase of
trial (BRL-I) will be based on the data generated by the applicant
during event selection trials, and over-all policy on the issue of
markers in transgenic plants.
Earlier, the Institutional Biosafety committee (IBSC) in its sixth
meeting held on July 9, 2010 approved the proposal. The proposal was
also recommended by the Review Committee on Genetic Manipulation (RCGM)
at its 91st meeting held on July 27, 2010.
crore for OSDD
The Open Source Drug Discovery (OSDD) project of Council for Scientific
& Industrial Research (CSIR) is set to receive another
financial boost. While pledging support of the government to
innovation, Prime Minister of India, Dr Manmohan Singh emphasized that
government is committed to raise around `177 crore in funding for OSDD,
from international agencies and philanthropists.
OSDD facilitates collaboration by providing a platform for mutual
sharing of research results, that may be used freely by any
participant. The project has already made available the complete
sequencing of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis genome.
Dr Singh while lauding the efforts of CSIR said, “We believe that
institutions like CSIR have to play a catalytic role in this area. Our
government is establishing an Academy of Scientific and Innovative
Research, that will use the infrastructure of the CSIR to impart
cutting-edge research training in frontier areas of science and
engineering, that are not ordinarily taught elsewhere.
On participation of the private sector in research, Dr Singh said, “If
we are to give meaning to our search for new frontiers in Indian
science, then a much larger participation of the private sector is also
essential. We have to leverage the private sector’s strengths by
creating high impact collaborations with public institutions in their
translation and transformational efforts.
Dr Singh agreed that there is a need to increase the expenditure on
S&T, as a proportion of the overall GDP of the country. He also
emphasized on the need to address issues related to sharing of
intellectual property rights.
Indo-German collaboration in life sciences
The Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR), Ministry of
Science & Technology (S&T), Government of India, New Delhi, and
the International Bureau of the German Federal Ministry of Education
and Research (IB/BMBF at DLR), Bonn, Germany, have invited proposals
from academia and industry in Germany and India; to collaborate in
various areas of science and technology including life sciences. The
areas in life sciences covered under the program are biotechnology,
genomics, proteomics, and synthetic biology (possible focus on
The program facilitates bilateral cooperation in the fields of science
and engineering between the research institutes of CSIR, India, and
those of Germany, by way of joint research projects, bilateral
workshops/seminars, exchange visits of scientists and scientific and
composite (scientific and industrial) delegations.
From the Indian side, scientists working in regular capacity in CSIR
research institutes; and from the German side, scientists and faculty
members working in regular capacity in public or private R&D
institutes can apply under this program. The Indian industrial partner
can participate in the program, but the project applicant would be a
CSIR scientist only. The Indian company will have to meet its own
project implementation cost. The participation of German companies has
also been sought, however, financing is limited. The project duration
is limited to two years, and expendable by one year.
The evaluation and selection criteria includes the relevance to German
and Indian national research program and multinational program (like
EU-programs). The new projects are in applied fields of mutual benefit,
and having justification for collaboration along with quality and
originality of research approach.
The applications from India and Germany were accepted at the respective
offices of CSIR and IB/BMBF till October 31, 2010. The short-listing of
selected projects would be completed by January 2011, and the projects
will start in April 2011.
Strand releases Avadis NGS software
Strand Scientific Intelligence, a wholly-owned subsidiary of India’s
Strand Life Sciences, has released Avadis NGS, a software application
for next-generation sequence analysis. Avadis NGS helps biologists
visualize and perform downstream analysis on their NGS data, simply on
a desktop computer.
Avadis NGS is an application based on ChIP-SEQ, RNA-SEQ and genetic
variation analysis that enables its users to assimilate large amounts
of NGS data and ascertain deep biological insights using powerful
statistics, interactive data visualizations in a state-of-the-art
genome browser, and downstream analyses.
François Mandeville, executive vice president of Strand
Scientific Intelligence, said, “Avadis NGS represents a major milestone
in NGS, and finally shifts the power of analysis from information
technology and informatics experts to the biologists.”
Avadis NGS is built on Strand’s award-winning scientific intelligence
platform, Avadis, for data analysis and visualization. The Avadis
platform has enabled rapid development of software for life and health
sciences applications such as Agilent Technologies’ GeneSpring and
powered breakthrough scientific discoveries by seven of the top 10
global pharmaceutical companies.
India, Russia to explore pharma, biopharma
India and Russia have agreed to explore the possibility of setting up
joint ventures in pharma and biopharma sectors, API and therapeutic
specific sector in both countries, including joint setting up of
R&D/testing facilities. They have also agreed to exchange technical
know-how for production of pharma products including bulk drugs,
serums, biosimilars and vaccines, participation in setting up of
enterprises for scientific and production capacity. This was decided
during a meeting between the Indian delegation, led by Mukul Joshi,
secretary, Department of Pharmaceuticals, Government of India, and
Russian delegation led by Russian Minister for Industry and Trade,
Victor B Khristenko on September 29, 2010.
Jubilant Organosys is now Jubilant Life
Jubilant Organosys, an integrated pharmaceutical and life sciences
company headquartered in New Delhi, has changed its name to
Jubilant Life Sciences.
Commenting on the development, Shyam S Bhartia, chairman & managing
director said, “Almost a decade ago, we had stepped onto this path of
transformation, and today, we have successfully positioned ourselves as
a life sciences company, with a presence across the value chain.”
With this change, Jubilant Life Sciences becomes the flagship company
of pharma and life sciences business of the Jubilant Bhartia Group
which also has interests in food and retail, oil and gas and aerospace.