World hunger refers to the multitudes of people currently facing the risk of an insufficient (quantity) or inadequate (quality) food supply, also known as food insecurity. World hunger might results from many complex factors such as low crop yields, natural disasters like droughts or floods, inadequate purchasing power and so on. According to 2012 world hunger statistics, there are 925 million hungry people of the estimated world population of 6.8 billion in 2010. In fact, there are at least one billion people on this planet go to bed daily on an empty stomach and 40,000 deaths caused by starvation every day. They do not have sufficient food to meet their daily requirements and this leads to malnutrition. Deficiencies in nutrients like Vitamin A, iron and iodine leads to 12 million deaths among children. This is such a 'silent holocaust' that is happening unconscionable. At this point, plant biotechnology plays a significant role in combating hunger. Plant biotechnology is defined as human intervention on plant material by means of technological instruments in order to produce permanent effects, and this includes genetic engineering and gene manipulation to obtain transgenic plants. It cannot be denied that plant biotechnology becomes a powerful tool in alleviating hunger as well as poverty by the introducing of GMOs into agriculture. Genetically modified organism (GMO) refers to organisms whose genetic material has been altered using recombinant DNA technology, a method used to recombine the DNA of different organisms. The use of plant biotechnology is significantly important as it could enhance crop production and quality, boost the yields of the crops, enhance soil fertility, reduce cost of foods, allow reduction in pesticides and so on in a sustainable manner with lesser negative impact on the environment. However, use of GMOs in agriculture has always brings up ethical issues on the conversation of environment, food safety, welfare of farmers and whether it has interfere with the biological balance of nature. In other words, plant biotechnology is absolutely critical as a keen tool in fighting against world hunger if it is appropriately developed, otherwise many ethical issues may arise against this.
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Plant biotechnology is vitally important in fighting against world hunger and it has great potential in advancing global food production. First of all, applications of plant biotechnology have overcome pests and diseases that are the major causes that ravage the crops in the developing world. This is done by recombinant DNA techniques to produce transgenic plants that have multiple durable resistances against pests and diseases, particularly in the absence of pesticide. These transgenic plants contain promising genes for specific resistance against fungal and viral diseases and are able to assist in pest extermination. For example, maize, rice and cotton. Besides, herbicide tolerant plants ideally require lesser herbicide because they are genetically modified to be more efficiently utilize the particular chemical product. As a result, greater yields of crops can be obtained meanwhile reducing the costs of using chemicals and at the same time reach the goal of environmental protection by the reduction of the use of pesticides. In addition, GMOs are valuable to withstand abiotic extremes such as drought and salinity. This is done by molecular remodelling so as to reduce water requirements. For instance, cereals that have greater tolerance towards hydration and salinity are developed in order to produce high yields of foods to meet the demand of the populations in China. Meanwhile, such designed plants can encourage environmental protection by using water more efficiently as more than 70% of water is being supplied for agricultural purposes. Besides, cereal varieties which have better tolerance towards iron toxicities, soil alkalinity and free aluminium are developed in order to overcome the soil degradation problems in many irrigation systems. Also, acidic soil areas are now arable for agriculture purpose. Furthermore, GMOs can develop high quality staple crops with higher nutrient content. Rice is the most commonly crops being applied. They tend to transfer the genes into the rice to increase the amount of micronutrients such as Vitamin A or iron and this is found to have profound impact for people with anaemia and blindness due to lack of vitamin A and iron. This is referred to as "Golden Rice". Moreover, tissue cultured is developed which include the techniques of in vitro conservation and micro propagation. This is very important in boosting the yield of vegetative plants.
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Although plant biotechnology in developing GMOs brings many beneficial effects in eliminating hunger, there are also ethical issues arise among people. A major issue regarding this always associated with the health people who consumed GM foods. Some consumers experienced allergic after consumption of GM foods as they often lack of knowledge on the effects and content of GM products. Also, it is found that genetic engineering has potential to remove many nutritional substances present in natural-grown foods. The potential of GMOs adversely affecting the ecological balance is another concern of people. Public is wary on genetic "pollution" resulted from outcrossing with wild populations affiliate with crops resistant to multiple herbicides are even difficult to control. Welfare of famers including limitations among farmer's options to work against ancient ecological farming method and contamination of organic crops are also issues arise by farmers. For example, multicropping which is used to ensure a harvest season is completely being undermined. Indeed, there are always issues and concerns to be tackled in the applications of biotechnology in agriculture.
By 2020, the number of undernourished could exceed 1 billion. In order to expand food production, use of plant biotechnology is vitally important to feed the growing world populations. However, there are many points against the use of GMOs in agriculture. The review of GMOs shows its broad potential in contributing to food security, but its impact on biosphere should not be overlooked. Countries should have a responsive and clear regulations and authoritative body to ensure the consumption of GM foods.