Team:IISER Bhopal/Safety GMO Policy

iGEM 2020 || IISER_Bhopal GMO


As iGEM Teams, we deal extensively with GMOs, Funding Contracts which involve patent sharing agreements etc. but as Biologists, we are hardly proficient when it comes to policy matters. Some members of our team are rather interested in this aspect of the policy, legal perspectives. After having thoroughly read the legal contract with our Sponsors, we realised we need an easy-to-understand policy overview of Intellectual Property Rights and GMO Policy in India.

While reviewing plans for commercialization of our project, we started understanding the Patent Filing Process. To help other iGEM teams, we launched the Patent Handbook for Indian iGEM Teams. As a team on therapeutics track which aims to manufacture a GMO pill iβeta, we decided to look into the Indian regulations on GMOs. This led to our report on the GMO Policy of India. After comprehensively surveying various acts, guidelines, forms etc. and consulting experts we compiled all available information in a lucid, organized manner which will definitely help any iGEM Team that wishes to understand the technical aspects of launching a Start-Up in Synthetic Biology.

GMO Policy Report

iGEM Safety guidelines are the first introduction to regulations around GMOs for many students. While most Biologists have an idea of the safety restrictions on a project. The rules and regulations in Institutes, government bodies or Competition level are usually cumbersome, have technical jargon and are sometimes ambiguous. As informed citizens, we come across news articles about GMO crops or decisions about GMOs but are unclear about the holistic view on GMO Policy in India and internationally.

So we set out to first clearly understand the GMO Policy adopted by India and all associated aspects and then present it briefly and comprehensively. Policy to deal with GMOs under one act has various aspects derived from different acts. This feature required gaining knowledge of how Acts work, the hierarchy of Acts, the jurisdiction of State Governments, various Departments / Ministries etc. and thus an overall understanding of governance in India.

Armed with that knowledge, we went through relevant Acts, Rules / Guidelines, Gazette Notifications etc. to identify sections that deal with GMOs directly or indirectly. Next, we went through reports by Special Committees, Parliamentary Standing Committees, International observatory agencies and NGOs to identify issues and opinions about the GMO Policy. Finally, we summarized and compiled all Policy aspects and presented a Decision Tree for the aid of applicants seeking approval for GMOs. We also studied the GMO Policy of other countries (Top GMO producers, similar economies as India) and after careful consideration highlighted issues with the GMO Policy of India. After consultation with expert Ms Lalitha Gowda, (a member of the apex GMO approval body of India) we drafted suggested revisions to the Policy.

GMO Guide
Check it out

GMO Policy in India

Overview, Examination, Comparative analysis.

Comprehensive GMO report

Policies for GMOs in India.