Biotechnology is the exploitation of biological processes for industrial and other purposes, especially the genetic manipulation of micro-organisms for the production of antibiotics, hormones, etc.
Agricultural biotechnology is a collection of scientific techniques used to improve plants, animals and micro-organisms. Based on an understanding of DNA, scientists have developed solutions to increase agricultural productivity.
The agricultural community has long supported new techniques that improve production and help make food even more affordable for consumers. For example, animals and crops have been selected for breeding for centuries resulting in improved disease resistance and bigger yields. Biotechnology simply gives the farmers the tools to speed up this process.
Consumers and the environment are the end beneficiary of new advances in biotechnology. Biotech advances that come to use on the farm will further ensure that American food and fibre products can remain cost-competitive both here and abroad.
Biotechnology research is closely monitored by federal and state agencies, including EPA, USDA, and the FDA. While it can be an effective tool, biotechnology as used on farms–such as new corn and Soybeans varieties–will not “run rampant” and produce the mutants that populate nightmares and science fiction movies. During a biotech research project, perhaps one gene in 10,000 is manipulated to achieve a small, but desired result.
Agricultural biotech has been producing countless new products that have the potential to change our lives for the better. The products include
- Pest resistant crops
- Abiotic Strength Resistance
- Conventional Plant Breeding – tissue culture and micro-propagation.
- Animal breeding
- Pesticide – Resistant crops
- Industrial strength fibres
- Nutrient supplementation
- Genetic engineering and GM crops in addition to Molecular diagnostic tools.
Courtesy: researchtriangle.org; croplifeasia.org and katsina farm for images.