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Biotech Bits

In a surprise move, India's union government has divested the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) of its job of approving genetically engineered products and converted it into a biotech evaluation body, according to the Business Standard. The government has replaced the word "approval" in the committee's nomenclature with "appraisal," making it the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee. One reason for doing so could be to justify, retroactively, the environment ministry's controversial action in February to overturn the GEAC's decision to approve the nation's first biotech edible product, Bt brinjal (eggplant) developed by Monsanto. More than a dozen transgenic and non-transgenic but gene-altered seeds are said to be in advanced stages of evaluation and ready for approval in India, the newspaper reports.

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