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Genetically Engineered Agricultural Practices Fatima Lazim HW220 Kaplan University January 9, 2010
What is agricultural biotechnology? • “Agricultural biotechnology is a range of tools, including traditional breeding techniques, that alter living organisms, or parts of organisms, to make or modify products; improve plants or animals; or develop microorganisms for specific agricultural uses. Modern biotechnology today includes the tools of genetic engineering.” (Frequently Asked Questions about Biotechnology, 2009)
Terms to be familiar with Before I go further explaining the agricultural practices that benefitted from genetic engineering, there are few terms that I like you to be familiar with; those are: • Genetic engineering: which is a laboratory technique used by scientists to change the DNA of living organisms. (What is Genetic Engineering?, 2001) • Biotechnology:” It is a field of science involved with gene technology, allowing us to manage deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) material, adding or removing a gene from the DNA of a plant or animal species” (Schlenker & Long, 2007, p. 214)
Terms to be familiar with cont. • Biotech food: is the food produced using biotechnology and it has natural resistance to crops-eating insects, it is called bt food, see the next slide. • Genetic Organisms: or what is called GMOs (genetically modified organism); they are organisms whose genetic material have been altered using genetic engineering techniques to add better character to the end organism or improve its quality. (Genetically modified organism, 2010)
Image of gene patenting • Cutting and pasting from two different organism. In the image, we take the gene responsible for making a natural insecticide from the bacterium Bacillus Thuringiensis and inserting it in a corn crops making it resistant naturally to the crops-eating insects. Such food is called BT food. (The Future of Food/Movie, 2010)
Why we use agricultural biotechnology? “ Biotechnology allows farmers to grow more food on less land using farming practices that are environmentally sustainable. Through biotechnology: • Seeds yield more per acre, plants naturally resist specific insect pests and diseases, and farming techniques improve soil conservation.
Why we use agricultural biotechnology? Cont. • Farmers and ranchers can help plants and animals fight diseases and adapt to environmental stress and climate change. • We can enhance the nutritional content of foods and improve human health through plant- and animal-produced therapies.” (Agricultural Biotechnology is Helping Farmers Grow Food Sustainably, 2009)
A report of an international academy of sciences panel on biotechnology in agriculture recently concluded that foods can be produced through the use of GM [genetic modification] technology that are more nutritious, stable in storage, and in principle health promoting — bringing benefits to consumers in both industrialized and developing nations (Bucchini, L. & Goldman, L., 2002), yet there may be risks to this new science. In the following slides I will list some of the risks and benefits of biotechnology.
Risks of biotechnology • Biotechnology is a very new field, and much about the interaction of GMOs with various ecosystems is not yet known. • Some of the concerns about the new technology include its potential adverse effects on biological diversity, and potential risks to human health. • Potential areas of concern might be unintended changes in the competitiveness, virulence, or other characteristics of the target species
Risks of biotechnology cont. • The possibility of adverse impacts on non-target species (such as beneficial insects) and ecosystems. • The potential for weediness in genetically modified crops (where a plant becomes more invasive than the original, perhaps by transferring its genes to wild relatives). • Last, the stability of inserted genes (the possibilities that a gene will lose its effectiveness or will be re-transferred to another host). (Biosafety and Biotechnology, 2008)
Benefits of biotechnology • Better tasting fruits or vegetables (Benefits of Biotechnology, n.d.) • Fruits and vegetables that retain their flavor and texture longer (Benefits of Biotechnology, n.d.) • Plants with their own built-in pest resistance traits, so fewer pesticides are applied to fields (Benefits of Biotechnology, n.d.)
Benefits of biotechnology cont. • Plants resistant to virus, so less pesticides are needed to control the insects which transmit the virus (Benefits of Biotechnology, n.d.) • Plants better able to tolerate stressful conditions such as high or low temperatures, drought and high salts in soil or water (Benefits of Biotechnology, n.d.) • Rapid, sensitive, and accurate diagnostic kits to monitor for agricultural pests. Growers will use this information to reduce pesticide use and improve the timing of applications (Benefits of Biotechnology, n.d.)
Benefits of biotechnology cont. • Plants could be produced fortified with nutrients or vitamins, like the golden rice which may become a solution to vitamin A deficiency in growing countries (Golden Rice An Effective Source Of Vitamin A, 2009) • Biotechnology could be the answer to the global hunger. “The benefits of biotechnology are especially meaningful at a time when our global population is growing and our demand for food is increasing, especially in developing countries.” (Agricultural Biotechnology is Helping Farmers Grow Food Sustainably, 2009)
Summary As life goes by, the world is facing modern problems. On a general level, one of the modern problems is global hunger and on agricultural level, farmers are facing new diseases affecting their plants and make them loss millions of dollars every year. Biotechnology came as an answer to problems on both levels. More, better, tastier, nutritious, and disease-resistant food is produced through biotechnology.
Summary cont. Biotechnology, like everything else in life, it has its good and bad side. So far we are making use of the good, yet being a new science make biotechnology controversial, but that does not mean we give up on it. On the contrary, we should test this science more, invest more in it, develop it, and make it safer because it just might be the answer for our future problems.
References • Agricultural Biotechnology is Helping Farmers Grow Food Sustainably. (2009). Retrieved January 9, 2010, from Biotechnology Industry Organization Web site: http://www.bio.org/foodag/ • Benefits of Biotechnology. (n.d.). Retrieved January 10, 2010, from http://ccr.ucdavis.edu/biot/benefit_new.html • Biosafety and Biotechnology. (2008). Retrieved January 10, 2010, from http://www.cbd.int/biosafety/faq/?area=biotechnology&faq=6 • Frequently Asked Questions about Biotechnology. (2009, November 18). Retrieved January 9, 2010, from USDA Web site: http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/!ut/p/_s.7_0_A/7_0_1OB?contentidonly=true&navid=AGRICULTURE&contentid=BiotechnologyFAQs.xml • The Future of Food/Movie. (2010). Retrieved from Hulu Web site: http://www.hulu.com/watch/67878/the-future-of-food
References cont. • Genetically modified organism. (2010, January 8). Retrieved January 9, 2010, from Wikipedia Web site: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetically_modified_organism • Golden Rice An Effective Source Of Vitamin A. (2009, May 18). Retrieved January 10, 2010, from Science Daily Web site: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090513121102.htm • What is Genetic Engineering? (2001). Retrieved January 9, 2010, from Mothers for Natural Law Web site: http://www.safe-food.org/-issue/ge.html • Schlenker, E. D., & Long, S. (2007). Williams' Essentials of Nutrition & Diet Therapy (p. 214). • Bucchini, L., & Goldman, L. (2002). Starlink Corn: A Risk Analysis. Environmental Health Perspectives, 110(1), 5. Retrieved from Academic Search Premier database.