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Biotechnology is most briefly defined as the art of utilizing living organisms and their products for the production of food, drink, medicine or for other benefits to the human race, or other animal species. Technically speaking, humans have been making use of biotechnology since they discovered farming, with the planting of seeds to control plant growth and crop production. Animal breeding is also a form of biotechnology. More recently, cross-pollination of plants and cross-breeding of animals were macro-biological techniques in biotechnology, used to enhance product quality or meet specific requirements or standards.
Broadly speaking, biotechnology is any technique that uses living organisms or substances from these organisms to make or modify a product for a practical purpose. It also can be applied to all classes of organism which are from viruses and bacteria to plants and animals and it is becoming a major feature of modern medicine, agriculture and industry. Modern agricultural biotechnology includes a range of tools that scientists employ to understand and manipulate the genetic make-up of organisms for use in the production or processing of agricultural products.
Moreover, biotechnology is being used to address problems in all areas of agricultural production and processing. This includes plant breeding to raise and stabilize yields; to improve resistance to pests, diseases and abiotic stresses such as drought and cold; and to enhance the nutritional content of foods. Then, biotechnology is being used to develop low-cost disease-free planting materials for crops such as cassava, banana and potato and is creating new tools for the diagnosis and treatment of plant and animal diseases and for the measurement and conservation of genetic resources. Biotechnology is being used to speed up breeding programmes for plants, livestock and fish and to extend the range of traits that can be addressed. Animal feeds and feeding practices are being changed by biotechnology to improve animal nutrition and to reduce environmental waste. Biotechnology is used in disease diagnostics and for the production of vaccines against animal diseases.
As conclusion, we know that, nowadays agricultural biotechnology is important to our life. This is because, it gives too many improvement in agriculture area.
What is the topic about?
Nowadays, we have lots of technologies that can be used on purposes of agriculture. Biotechnology is a field that applied biology that involves the use of living organisms and bioprocesses in engineering, technology, medicine and other fields requiring bioproducts. The biotechnologies in agriculture are some of techniques that provide a method to expand the agricultural resources. In biotechnologies, many researches are done by scientist to find a way to make sure those agricultural resources can always be produces and also to prevent for lack of resources. The examples of the result obtained from biotechnology in agriculture are crop yield, reduced vulnerability of crops to environmental stresses, increased nutritional qualities, improved taste, texture or appearance of food, and reduced dependence on fertilizers, pesticides and other agrochemicals.
One of the technique that used by agriculture industrialist is yielding of clones. Cloning is used in agriculture to produce additional crops by reproducing plants of existing crops and also to improved livestock production. Cloning is a scientific process of producing genetically identical organism that already occurs in nature. Cloning is different from the artificial insemination of an animal or artificial fertilization of a plant because cloning does not require sexual or asexual reproduction. The process creates an identical copy of the gene or organism using bacterium. In biotechnology, there are several types of cloning that created by the scientists which are reproductive cloning, therapeutic cloning and DNA cloning.
Reproductive cloning is a method uses to producing the exact copy of the existing organism. It is a creation of an animal that is a duplicate of the nuclear DNA. Reproductive cloning is performing using a technique call as somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) and it is the most common cloning technique. In this SCNT technology, DNA from the nucleus of a donor adult cell which can come from anywhere in the body and transferred to an egg cell that has had its own nucleus extracted. If the new egg cell becomes stimulated, it will develop and growing into an embryo with the characteristics of the donor's cell. In contrast to natural reproduction, reproductive cloning does not create a genetically new and unique individual through the recombination of each chromosome set from each parent. Instead, only the DNA from the DNA donor is present, which makes the newborn a genetic replicate of the DNA donor, a clone. This reproductive cloning is perhaps the most widely known process of cloning since the highly publicized Dolly the sheep.
Next type is therapeutic cloning. Therapeutic cloning is the use of cloning for therapeutic purposes. This technique cloning involves the development of human embryos. The objective of this cloning is not to clone a human being but to use cloned embryos for research and therapeutic purposes. This technique formed once the nuclear transfer has taken place, and after that the egg becomes viable it develops. Then, after 5 days a blastocyst is formed. Blastocysts contain in its inner structure stem cells. Stem cell harvesting is the ultimate purpose of therapeutic cloning. The stem cells can be used to generate virtually any type of specialized cell in the human body. For the end result of this technique is it would be a replacement organ, or piece of nerve tissue, or quantity of skin. The first successful therapeutic cloning was accomplished in 2001-NOV by Advanced Cell Technology, a biotech company in Worcester, MA.
The last type is DNA Cloning. It is a technique that uses to create many copies of DNA fragments. This technique also can be use to clone random fragment of DNA, specific sequent of DNA or can be used to clone entire gene sequence. To create a DNA cloning, the first steps are; the interested DNA fragment is extracted from the genome, by the help of restriction enzymes or can be synthesized chemically. Polymerase chain reaction of cloning vectors are use to produce multiple copies of DNA fragments. Then agarose gel electrophoresis and DNA sonication method are also used for cloning DNA fragments. DNA cloning is used to create microorganism, plants or animals with desirable features.
Oral vaccines have been in the works for many years as a possible solution to the spread of disease in underdeveloped countries, where costs are prohibitive to widespread vaccination. Genetically engineered crops, usually fruits or vegetables, designed to carry antigenic proteins from infectious pathogens, that will trigger an immune response when injested. An example of this is a patient-specific vaccine for treating cancer. An anti-lymphoma vaccine has been made using tobacco plants carrying RNA from cloned malignant B-cells. The resulting protein is then used to vaccinate the patient and boost their immune system against the cancer. Tailor-made vaccines for cancer treatment have shown considerable promise in preliminary studies.
Plants are used to produce antibiotics for both human and animal use. Expressing antibiotic proteins in livestock feed, fed directly to animals, is less costly than traditional antibiotic production, but this practice raises many bioethics issues, because the result is widespread, possibly unnecessary use of antibiotics which may promote growth of antibiotic-resistant bacterial strains. Several advantages to using plants to produce antibiotics for humans are reduced costs due to the larger amount of product that can be produced from plants versus a fermentation unit, ease of purification, and reduced risk of contamination compared to that of using mammalian cells and culture media.
3. Plant and Animal Breeding
Enhancing plant and animal traits by traditional methods like cross-pollination, grafting, and cross-breeding is time-consuming. Biotech advances allow for specific changes to be made quickly, on a molecular level through over-expression or deletion of genes, or the introduction of foreign genes. The latter is possible using gene expression control mechanisms such as specific gene promoters and transcription factors. Methods like marker-assisted selection improve the efficiency of "directed" animal breeding, without the controversy normally associated with GMOs. Gene cloning methods must also address species differences in the genetic code, the presence or absence of introns and post-translational modifications such as methylation.
4. Pest Resistant Crops
For years, the microbe Bacillus thuringiensis, which produces a protein toxic to insects, in particular the European corn borer was used to dust crops. To eliminate the need for dusting, scientists first developed transgenic corn expressing BT protein, followed by BT potato and cotton. Bt protein is not toxic to humans, and transgenic crops make it easier for farmers to avoid costly infestations. In 1999 controversy emerged over BT corn because of a study that suggested the pollen migrated onto milkweed where it killed monarch larvae that ate it. Subsequent studies demonstrated the risk to the larvae was very small and, in recent years, the controversy over BT corn has switched focus, to the topic of emerging insect resistance.
Advantages of Agricultural Biotechnology
Increased crop productivity
Enhanced crop protection
Improvements in food processing
Improved nutritional value
Disadvantages of Agricultural Biotechnology
Allergens and toxins
Environmental and ecological issues
Impacts on "nontarget" species
Loss of biodiversity
Comment about this topic
In my opinions, agricultural biotechnology has it own advantages and disadvantage. But, for the globalisation, I think agricultural Biotechnology is really important in our life. However, we need to minimise the effect of whatever experiment we done. The example of disadvantages is biotechnology is bad for human health. This is due to the allergen and toxin. People with food allergies have an unusual immune reaction when they are exposed to specific proteins, called allergens, in food. So, to avoid the something bad happen to the consumer, we have to ensure that the new thing cannot be dangerous to the consumer. Use of antibiotics in animal's feed is not a threat to human health only if used when needed. Thus the uses of antibiotics in animal's feed shouldn't be allowed. Furthermore, agricultural biotechnology still gives benefits to us. For example, by using this technology, we can improve the production of crops. This will help the farmer to increase their income and lifestyle. Other than that, when the farmers' income increase, our country's economy also will be increase. There more advantages and disadvantages of the agricultural biotechnology. So, as a human that lead our life, we have to ensure our action do not give big bad impact to our environment and life. Agricultural biotechnology can be continued as long as it give more advantages than disadvantages. As a conclusion, whatever development we want to do should be neatly done to minimise the bad effect and give more benefits.
Biotechnology is a complement not a substitute for many areas of conventional agricultural research. It offers a range of tools to improve our understanding and management of genetic resources for food and agriculture. These tools are already making a contribution to breeding and conservation programmes and to facilitating the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of plant and animal diseases. The application of biotechnology provides the researcher with new knowledge and tools that make the job more efficient and effective. In this way, biotechnology-based research programmes can be seen as a more precise extension of conventional approaches. At the same time, genetic engineering can be seen as a dramatic departure from conventional breeding because it gives scientists the power to move genetic material between organisms that could not be bred through classical means.
Agricultural biotechnology is cross-sectoral and interdisciplinary. Most of the molecular techniques and their applications are common across all sectors of food and agriculture, but biotechnology cannot stand on its own. Genetic engineering in crops, for example, cannot proceed without knowledge derived from genomics and it is of little practical use in the absence of an effective plant-breeding programme. Any single research objective requires mastery of a bundle of technological elements. Biotechnology should be part of a comprehensive, integrated agricultural research programme that takes advantage of work in other sectoral, disciplinary and national programmes. This has broad implications for developing countries and their development partners as they design and implement national research policies, institutions and capacity-building programmes.
Agricultural biotechnology is international. Although most of the basic research in molecular biology is taking place in developed countries, this research can be beneficial for developing countries because it provides insight into the physiology of all plants and animals. The findings of the human and the mice genome projects provide direct benefits for farm animals, and vice versa, whereas studies of maize and rice can provide parallels for applications in subsistence crops such as sorghum. However, specific work is needed on the breeds and species of importance in developing countries. Developing countries are host to the greatest array of agricultural biodiversity in the world, but little work has been done on characterizing these plant and animal species at the molecular level to assess their production potential and their ability to resist disease and environmental stresses or to ensure their long-term conservation.