Indonesia’s Bt sugarcane sees the light of day

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The Petri Dish editor-in-chief Dr Mahaletchumy Arujanan hosted an email Q&A with Prof Bambang Sugiharto (BS) and Dr Agus Pakpahan (AP) who were both involved in the development of the country’s first biotech crop. Bambang is from the Center for Development of Advanced Science and Technology (CDAST) and Department of Biology, Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, University of Jember, Indonesia while Agus was the chairman of the Indonesian Biosafety Commission.

Tell us the efforts necessary to develop a drought-tolerant sugarcane and how it all began in Indonesia?

AP: The sugarcane industry in the country is centred in the East Java Province and this region contributes about 45 per cent of national sugar production. The history of sugarcane production originated in the “wetlands”