Blog: Michelle RussellIran develops GM cotton crop

Michelle Russell | 3 June 2015

Iran has developed what is said to be the first sample of genetically modified cotton, produced using indigenous technology.

The GM cotton is considered a solution to existing problems with the quality of cotton produced in South Khorasan Province, eastern Iran. It was unveiled during the First International and 9th National Biotechnology Congress of Iran last month.

According to Iran's Press TV, by taking advantage of the new technology, the cotton crop harvested across provincial farms has increased by five to seven times.

The technology for the production of genetically modified cotton was developed by an Iranian biotechnology research institute in Alborz Province, west of the capital city, Tehran.

Dr Mostafa Ghane’i, who heads the First International Biotechnology Congress of Iran, said: “This technology has been developed in about five years by Iranian researchers and suits the country’s conditions.”

Legally, however, taking advantage of any such new technology on cotton farms would require permission from the Iranian parliament’s Biosafety Committee.

Genetically engineered cotton is grown globally, estimated at around 25m hectares, mostly in India, China, Pakistan and the US. Other countries growing significantly smaller amounts include South Africa, Brazil, Burma, Australia, and Egypt.

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