Biotechnology is the application of techniques to improve plant and animals by using biological

organisms to enhance their value. Agricultural Biotechnology involves applications to

Agriculture. It involves modification in living organisms by genes manipulation. World

population is increasing day by day with the advancement in and technology medicine. People

are living longer lives and world population is increasing. To fulfill their nutritional requirement,

more nutritious food is required. During 1990-92 the population of Sub-Saharan Africa was 500

million and during 2010 it was increased up to 874 million. The population of South Asia during

1990-92 was 1138 million which was increased up to 1617 million during 2010. Moreover it is

predicted that up to 2050, population will increase over 10 billion people. How to supply enough

food that man doesnt suffer a world famine. Due to regular need of land for mans living, it is

relatively harder to expand farimg land in future. Then the only way towards the solution of this

problem is to enhance the production techniques so as to increase the production to meet the

requirements. Due to Agricultural Biotechnology, number of hungry people is declined. This was

made through the introduction of new more resistant and improves cultivars with more intensive

but precisely ues of inputs as was in Green Revolution. The benefits of Agricultural

Biotechnology are as;

Due to this technique, the overall production has increased as it involves improved and resistant

cultivars against pests as well as diseases. The introduction of microorganism, Bacillus

Thuringiensis into the maize genome, formulates a BT Maize crop which is resistant to corn

borers by producing Cry1Ab protein. In brinjal, the major problem is shoot and fruit borer which

attacks all aerial parts specially friut and shoot. To avoid this damage, a protein Cry1Ac is

introduced, to form BT Brinjal which has resistant against lepidopteran. During 1990, work on

transgenic cotton was started to avoid the attack of boll worms. Bacillus Thuringiensis was

incorporated to develop BT Cotton which reduce the cost of insecticides and also incease the

yield upto 35 percent. Many crops have been engineered to resist herbicide appliction to increase

better production. For example, Tobacco have been resistant to Bromoxynil herbicide and many

other crops have been resistant to the glyphosate herbicide. Blight resistant potato was a

dominent disease in potato. Then a gene Rpi-blb1 and Rpi-blb2 was introduced taken from

Fusarium oxysporum to resist this disease.

Some of the abiotic stress resistant plant engineered by biotechnology are as; Scientists have

developed drought resistant wheat, soybean and maize cultivars with the inoculation of a gene

HAHB4 isolated from sunflower. Researchers have noticed that plants have a naturally

substance glycinbetain resistant to salts. Genetically, modified tomatoes having glycinbetain are

more resistant to salts. Agricultural Biotachnology also helps in improving nutritional value of

food to accomplish hidden hunger. Rice provides 80 ercent or more of the calories reqiure by a

person each day. Blindness is caused by Vit. A deficiency. Golden Rice was engineered to

accomplish this deficiency, created by rice transforming with two beta-carotene biosynthesis

genes: phytoene synthase and crtl from the soil bacterium Erwinia uredovora. Bet-carotene

(precursor of vit. A) is present in the endosperm which is edible part of the grain. Frost damages

tomato crop. To prevent this damage, an antifreeze gene from cold water fish was inoculant in

tomato plant. An enzyme Chymosin, obtained from bacteria, helps in preservaation of cheese for

a longer period. It replaces calf rennet with chymosin and now mostly used in manufacturing

inndustries. It has reduced 50 percent cost and high yield efficiency. Flavor can be improved by

enhancing the role of enzymmes that transform the aroma precursor into aroma compounds. For

example in water-melon and pepper. Sccientists have identified and modified growth hormone

gocerning gene in tilapia, increasing yield and greater fish protein in local diets.

Apart from all these benefits of Agricultural biotechnology, some risks are also there as it causes

some problems in animals as well as in human due to poor management. For example in 2000, a

maize variety cleared for animal consumption was also found in human consumption. A major

concern from Agri. Biotechnology is the introduction of allergens and toxins in otherwise safe

foods. Biotechnology also causes an introduction of an undesired gene which is not suitable for

health. Scientists maintain that when transgenic crops will be introduced at field level, it will

causes undesirable changes on non-target species. For example pollen from BT corn may kill

caterpillar of monarch butterfly. It is also important to note that insects may develop resistant

against herbicides when transgenic crops exposed to field level. Agricultural Biotechnology

represents unique science applications that are used to fill the gap in nutritional requirements of

the society. Biotechnology, as a genetic engineering is beneficial for society if carefully managed

and ethically used.

By Web Team

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