Why is genetic engineering used in agriculture


Genetic engineering for improving quality and productivity of crops

  • Abstract. The importance of optimal nutrition for human health and development is well recognised. …
  • Background. …
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  • Conclusion. …
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Some benefits of genetic engineering in agriculture are increased crop yields, reduced costs for food or drug production, reduced need for pesticides, enhanced nutrient composition and food quality, resistance to pests and disease, greater food security, and medical benefits to the world’s growing population.


Why do we need biotechnology in agriculture?

The role of biotechnology in agriculture is multifaceted. Some of the most prevalent benefits of biotechnology in agriculture include – With better disease control and increased tolerance to drought and flooding, biotechnology leads to a significant increase in crop production.

What are some benefits of genetic engineering agriculture?

Genetic engineering, including gene editing, can have numerous benefits: faster and more precise breeding, higher crop yields, development of more nutritious food, and decreased need for herbicides and pesticides.

How does DNA technology help agriculture?

Recombinant DNA Technology

  • Ensuring Safety in Biotechnology. …
  • Translational biotechnology: A transition from basic biology to evidence-based research. …
  • GENETIC ENGINEERING | Modification of Yeasts and Moulds. …
  • Overview of Biopharmaceuticals and Comparison with Small-molecule Drug Development. …
  • Scientific Fundamentals of Biotechnology. …
  • DNA replication and gene expression

How does genetic engineering affect agriculture?

The real problems

  • Political problems. During the last two decades on through the beginning of the 21st century, there have been many countries whose people have suffered deprivation and starvation caused by political …
  • Economic and logistical problems. …
  • Development in the Sahel. …

How does genetic engineering in agriculture work?

GM is a technology that involves inserting DNA into the genome of an organism. To produce a GM plant, new DNA is transferred into plant cells. Usually, the cells are then grown in tissue culture where they develop into plants. The seeds produced by these plants will inherit the new DNA.

How are genetics used in agriculture?

People can use genetic information to observe or monitor the growth status of crops and provide guidelines for the field management, by which we can improve the efficiency of agricultural measures such as fertilization and irrigation, and regulate the maturity and growth habits and other important growth process of …

What is the role of genetics in agriculture and food production?

In addition to being a direct ‘provisioning service’, genetic resources provide the raw material for improving the production of more and better food, either directly or through providing better feed for livestock. They are also important as the basis for improving fibre, fuel or any other crop product.

In which ways genetic engineering can improve crops?

The foundation of Mendelian genetics enabled plant breeders to cross plants with new precision, carefully manipulating the plant genome to produce new, improved varieties. These breeding techniques have been used to develop higher-yielding varieties, including plants resistant to pests or disease.

What is the role of genes in the DNA?

Genes make up about one percent of the DNA sequence; the rest is responsible for regulating when and how quantities of proteins are made. 2. Genetic engineering (GE) is the direct manipulation of genetic material (or the genome) by artificial means to alter the hereditary traits of a cell or organism. The process can involve the transfer of …

Why do farmers use GE seeds?

Farmers adopt GE seeds and their attendant herbicides ostensibly to make farming easier and more profitable. However, GE seeds cost a lot more than conventional seeds (up to $150 more per bag, according to one report) plus the cost of herbicides.

Why are GMOs bad?

Concerns about GMOs range from their safety to how genetically modified plants’ pollen effects the environment, to the increasing use of herbicides associated with their use, with decreasing effectiveness . Polls show that consumers want mandatory labels on foods containing GE ingredients. 1.

What is GMO food?

GMO Foods and Genetic Engineering. Genetically engineered (GE) or genetically modified (GM) foods are produced from plants and animals that have had changes made to their DNA, which introduce or modify genetic traits. Most packaged foods contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs) engineered to be resistant to herbicides and pests; corn, …

How have GMOs impacted the environment?

One of the major ways that GMOs have impacted the environment, therefore, has been in a mass of side effects stemming from increased pesticide use , including compromised water quality, loss of biodiversity and threats to human health.

What is traditional breeding?

Traditional breeding is done between the same or closely related species and keeps strands of DNA and gene sequences intact — which can also mean that negative traits are reproduced alongside positive traits.

What is genetically modified organism?

An organism that is created or modified by genetic engineering is called a genetically modified organism. Genetic engineering in agriculture is different from traditional cross-breeding methods, which have been used for millennia.

What is genetically modified organism?

plants, animals or microorganisms) in which the genetic material (DNA) has been altered in a way that does not occur naturally by mating and/or natural recombination. The technology is often called “modern biotechnology” or “gene technology,” sometimes also “recombinant DNA technology” or “genetic engineering.” 4

What is biotechnology in science?

Broadly, biotechnology can be defined as “the application of science and engineering in the direct or indirect use of living organisms, or parts or products of living organisms, in their natural or modified forms.” 2 In most cases, this term is used to refer to modern technologies developed through various life sciences such as molecular biology, biochemistry and genetics.

Why do we need to label GM foods?

As with other foods, Health Canada requires labelling of GM foods for health or safety concerns (e.g., the presence of an allergen), or when there are compositional or nutritional changes to the product. 26.

Is GMO a process based regulation?

32 In contrast with the product-based regulatory approach taken by both Canada and the U.S., the EU ’s approach is process-based, subjecting products to different regulations based on how they were developed, not on their final characteristics.

When is genetic engineering used?

Genetic engineering may be used when other available tools are ineffective, unavailable, or when a clear benefit, such as reduced reliance on pesticides or increased yield, can be achieved. Let’s look at three examples of traits used in agricultural crops today, what they do, how they work, which crops have them and why.

Why is genetic engineering important?

Genetic engineering can be used in a variety of ways to protect plants from damaging pests and diseases. Why is it important to protect plants from pests and diseases? In commercial agriculture, plants are typically grown in genetic monocultures, especially staple crops like corn, wheat, rice and others. If a pest or pathogen is present …

What are the genes that produce a protein harmful to insects?

Bacterial genes that result in production of a protein harmful to insect cells are inserted into genes of the plant. The plant cells now contain the toxic protein and caterpillars that feed on the plant will be killed.

What are some of the tools farmers use to prevent or manage plant pests and diseases?

Farmers use many tools and techniques to prevent or manage plant pests and diseases. These include: Corn earworm. Photo: Jude Boucher. Monitoring to detect pests early. Cultural practices such as crop rotation or trap crops. Resistant plant varieties (traditional breeding) Appropriate fertilization and irrigation.

What does modified potato do?

What does it do? Modified potato plants are resistant to the serious disease, late blight,that was responsible for the Irish potato famine of the 1800s and still causes major crop losses today. In addition, these potatoes are reported to have improved storage life and reduced amounts of a potentially carcinogenic chemical produced when potatoes are cooked at high temperatures.

Is eggplant genetically modified?

Corn, cotton, and eggplant (Bangladesh) (not all seed/plants are genetically modified). Why was this trait introduced? Some of the most damaging pests of these crops, typically requiring regular applications of insecticides, are caterpillars.

Why is genetic engineering important?

Thus, a major goal of plant scientists is to find ways to maintain high productivity under stress as well as developing crops with enhanced nutritional value. Genetically-modified (GM) crops can prove to be powerful complements to those produced by conventional methods for meeting the worldwide demand for quality foods. Crops developed by genetic engineering can not only be used to enhance yields and nutritional quality but also for increased tolerance to various biotic and abiotic stresses. Although there have been some expressions of concern about biosafety and health hazards associated with GM crops, there is no reason to hesitate in consuming genetically-engineered food crops that have been thoughtfully developed and carefully tested. Integration of modern biotechnology, with conventional agricultural practices in a sustainable manner, can fulfil the goal of attaining food security for present as well as future generations.

Why is biotechnology important in agriculture?

Agricultural biotechnology is proving to be a powerful complement to conventional methods for meeting worldwide demand for quality food.

How are GM crops produced?

GM crops produced by introducing genes for improved agronomic performance and/or enhanced nutrition are under commercial cultivation in many countries [ 8 ]. The rigour of the food safety consideration is greatly influenced by the source of the DNA used to develop the GM crop. If the DNA is from an edible plant it will make the regulatory process before commercialisation easier and it will also improve consumer acceptance; as, for example, in our laboratory where the Ama1 gene was isolated from the edible crop Amaranthus and used to develop protein-rich GM potato. It was found to be non-allergenic and safe for consumption using the mouse model [ 6 ]. Similarly, the gene OXDC (Oxalate decarboxylase) isolated from the edible fungi Collybia velutipes was found to be non-toxic and non-allergenic [ 14 ]. When we introduced a single gene encoding C-5 sterol desaturase (FvC5SD) from Collybia velutipes to the tomato, we obtained a crop with multiple beneficial traits, including improved drought tolerance and fungal resistance [ 7, 15 ]. Other strategies include silencing of the host genes instead of addition of a new gene to enhance shelf life of fruits and vegetables [ 3 ]. The genes derived from plant viruses can also be considered as safe transgenes as these viruses are not known to be human pathogens. Several virus-resistant transgenics harbouring either the coat protein [ 16] or overexpressing siRNAs [ 17] have been developed and released for commercial purposes. A well-known example is the GM papaya resistant to papaya ringspot virus (PRSV) [ 16 ]. Presently, about 90% of papaya cultivated in the island of Hawaii is genetically engineered with a coat protein of PRSV. Commercial cultivation of this GM papaya resulted in a considerable increase in papaya production. To date, no conventional or organic method is available to control this rampant virus.

What are the markers used in GM crops?

Among the most highly used selectable markers are kanamycin and hygromycin resistance genes.

What is a GM crop?

Classically-bred and GM crops are the outcomes of genetic modifications created through different means of gene transfer technology. Both conventional breeding and GM technology may involve changes in the genetic makeup of an organism with respect to DNA sequences and the order of genes.

Why are GM crops used?

GM strategies are being employed to minimize yield losses due to various stresses (biotic and abiotic) and are being used extensively for value addition in food crops by enrichment with quality proteins, vitamins, iron, zinc, carotenoids, anthocyanins and so on.

What is the goal of plant scientists?

Thus, a major goal of plant scientists is to find ways to maintain high productivity under stress as well as developing crops with enhanced nutritional value . Genetically-modified (GM) crops can prove to be powerful complements to those produced by conventional methods for meeting the worldwide demand for quality foods.


Within 35 years (2049) the global population will reach an estimated nine billion people. This presents a massive challenge to agriculture: how do we feed all of these people with nutritious food in a sustainable way?


In August of 2013 anti-GMO (Genetically-Modified Organisms) activists destroyed the Philippine Department of Agriculture’s field trials of Golden Rice, a rice variety genetically-modified to deliver high levels of β-carotene in the seed (See Figure 1 ).

The Need for GMOs

Before I discuss GM crops, how they are produced, what GM crops are currently grown and will be available in the future, I think it is important to understand why there is such a commitment to developing them.

What Are GMOs?

The term Genetically-Modified Organism is amorphous and somewhat imprecise. All of our crops and livestock are GMOs in that their genetics have been manipulated and designed by man over the last 10,000 years or more. This has occurred to such an extent that most barely resemble their wild progenitors.

How Do We Produce GM Crops?

To transfer genes into a crop plant to generate a GMO, (a transgenic plant) generally requires a two-step process:

Impact and Safety of GM Crops

It has been thirty years since the first genetically engineered plants were generated, and it has been eighteen years since the first introduction of a transgenic crop into U.S. agriculture.

Herbicide Tolerance

Herbicide-tolerant GM crops have been widely adopted in the U.S., such that >90% of corn, soybeans, and cotton are GM and herbicide-tolerant 28 and as other countries adopt GM technologies, the amount of acreage planted with herbicide-tolerant GM crops will continue to grow. In Canada 98% of the canola crop is GM.


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