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Introduction to biotechnology
It is a technology used in biological science to get useful products so that our life is improved. Scientists and researchers have used the process of biology to improve the quality of human life for a long time. The research was first done in the agricultural field. Biotechnology is widely used in molecular and cellular technology. In this process always make use of living cells so that they can grow and utilize products for specific functions. Genetically modified crops are an example of biotechnology. With help of genetic engineering, biotechnology is used in the production of drugs and therapeutic proteins. It has also immense use in the field of medicine, food as well as in the environment. Early companies like Genentech, Amgen, Biogen, Cetus, and Genex used biotechnology in genetically engineered substances primarily for the field of environment and pharmaceutical industry.
History of agricultural biotechnology
In the history of agriculture, biotechnology is used to generate improved products. Farmers use traditional methods like cross-breeding and selective breeding for the production of crops and animals. From these methods usually, the farmers gable to get the desired traits. For example, in earlier days farmers used cross-breeding to grow crops with a range of colours, sizes and uses. As we already know that food and agricultural products get from the application of biology.
Examples of biological applications are making bread, making wine and beer from the fermentation of fruits as well as grains. Nowadays farmers are comfortable with the genetic exchange of species through sexual reproduction. These genetic variations produce a variety of species with desired biological traits. In agriculture, that genetic variation that we have observed now has come from mutations. This mutation has appeared in the species in cultivation or natural for long periods. Due to a lot of research and discovery in science and technology genetic variation in species has been improved. Throughout the 20th century lot of improvement has been made in agriculture through the application of biotechnology. Biotechnology has achieved success in animal husbandry to an extent. Biotechnology plays a crucial role in the production of improved genetically modified crops. Using agricultural biotechnology reduce the use of pesticides, and chemical fertilizers, increase the flexibility of crop, and as a result yields production increases.
Using agricultural biotechnology it is possible to get new and improved traits of crop plants and agricultural animals. For the production of biofuels, dyes, food, textiles, pharmaceuticals, etc genetically modified species are used. In the year 1972 first genetically modified technology was used in agriculture biotechnology.
Production of genetically modified plants
Genetically modified technology is a technique that inset the DNA into the genome of the species. To produce genetically modified Plant into t new DNA is introduced into the desired plants. The steps for making genetically modified plants are described below
Identification − Scientists first identify traits (resistance to drought, herbicides, or insects) that they want to have in plants. After that, they find and finalize species that have desired characteristics in their chromosomes. For example, scientists desired to produce genetically modified corn that have resistance to insects. So that the use of pesticides can be minimized. They found a gene in soil bacteria that is produced insecticides naturally. This method is used in both organic and traditional agriculture.
Copy − They copy the desired traits genes. For corn, they have copied the genes from soil bacteria that produce insect-resistance traits. The insect-resistance soil bacteria is known as Bacillus thuringiensis.
Insert − The third step is that scientists would insert the desired gene into the DNA of the plant. As result, the corn plant will be insect resistant as it contains the gene of Bacillus thuringiensis. Other characteristics of the plant will remain the same after inserting the desired traits.
Grow − The new corn plant will be grown in a laboratory condition using the tissue culture technique. So that the corn plants adopted the insect resistance traits. If this is successful scientists would allow the new crop plants into greenhouses, small fields, and large fields accordingly. It takes a lot of time to release genetically modified plants into markets.
Examples of GM plants
The most common GM plants are
- Sugar beet
Role of biotechnology in agriculture
The role of biotechnology in agriculture is described below
Crop production − Crop production is increased using biotechnology in agricultural fields. The crops have resistance to drought and floods.
Crop protection − Biotechnology gives better protection to the crops plants. The modified crops are more resilient to pests.
Nutritional value − Biotechnology generates crops in which fruits have higher nutritional value.
Fresh and taste − Biotechnology increases the activity of the enzymes as a result the flavour and taste of the fruits are enhanced.
Application of biotechnology in Agriculture
The application of biotechnology in agriculture are listed below
- Tissue culture
- Genetic engineering
- Somatic hybridisation
- Molecular diagnosis
- Vaccine Production
Advantages of biotechnology in agriculture
- The crop production rate increases
- The protection rate of crops is higher
- Nutritional value is enhanced
- Give better flavour and tasty fruits and remains fresh for a longer period.
- As biotechnology reduces the use of pesticides it benefits the environment.
Disadvantages and risks of biotechnology in agriculture
The disadvantages of biotechnology in agriculture are as follows
- It reduces the soil fertility.
- In biotechnology, there is an absence of genetic diversity
- It makes our life into a commodity
- Research in the field is not up to the mark.
There are four major risks are present in biotechnology. It is associated with health, environment, bio-diversity, and socio-economic status.
Nowadays Biotechnology is a part of agricultural science. Many techniques and scientific tools are used to genetic behaviors in plants, animals as well as microorganisms. Biotechnology is used in agriculture to get an improved variety of crops as well as it can improve the quantity of production. Genetically modified plants are resistant to insecticides, pesticides, etc. Using biotechnology techniques in the agricultural field have some reverse effect on human and the environment.
Q1. What do you understand by tissue culture?
Ans. In the tissue culture technique part of the tissues of plants and animals are allowed in grow in a laboratory condition. So that desired traits that are introduced in the species, are well adapted to the species and they can survive.
Q2. What is the use of therapeutic protein?
Ans. Therapeutic proteins are generated in the laboratory for medicinal uses. It is used to treat various diseases like cancer. Haemophilia, diabetes, and many more infectious diseases.
Q3. What is alfalfa?
Ans. It is a herb and is mainly grown in the united states. These plants contain a high amount of nutrients and are used to cure diseases.
Q4. What is somatic hybridization?
Ans. Through the process of fusion of protoplast, the cellular genome is manipulated in somatic hybridization.
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