Reduced Vulnerability Of Crops To Environmental Stresses Biology Essay

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Using the techniques of modern biotechnology, one or two genes may be transferred to a highly developed crop variety to impart a new character that would increase its yield. However, while increases in crop yield are the most obvious applications of modern biotechnology in agriculture, it is also the most difficult one. Current genetic engineering techniques work best for effects that are controlled by a single gene. Many of the genetic characteristics associated with yield (e.g., enhanced growth) are controlled by a large number of genes, each of which has a minimal effect on the overall yield.There is, therefore, much scientific work to be done in this area.

Reduced vulnerability of crops to environmental stresses

Crops containing genes that will enable them to withstand biotic and abiotic stresses may be developed. For example drought excessively salty soil are two important limiting factors in crop productivity. Biotechnologists are studying plants that can cope with these extreme conditions in the hope of finding the genes that enable them to do so and eventually transferring these genes to the more desirable crops. One of the latest developments is the identification of a plant gene, AT_DBF1, from Arabidopsis thaliana, a tiny weed that is often used for plant research because it is very easy to grow and its genetic code is well mapped out. When this gene was inserted into tomato and tobacco cells ,the cells were able to withstand environmental stresses like salt, drought, cold and heat, far more than ordinary cells. If these preliminary results prove successful in larger trials, then At-DBF2 genes can help in engineering crops that can better withstand harsh environments. Researchers have also created transgenic rice plants that are resistant to rice yellow mottle virus (RYMV). In Africa, this virus destroys majority of the rice crops and makes the surviving plants more susceptible to fungal infections

Increased nutritional qualities

Proteins in foods may be modified to increase their nutritional qualities. Proteins in legumes and cereals may be transformed to provide the amino acids needed by human beings for a balanced diet..

Improved taste, texture of food

Modern biotechnology can be used to slow down the process of spoilage so that fruit can ripen longer on the plant and then be transported to the consumer with a still reasonable shelf life. This alters the taste, texture and appearance of the fruit. More importantly, it could expand the market for farmers in developing countries due to the reduction in spoilage. However, there is sometimes a lack of understanding by researchers in developed countries about the actual needs of prospective beneficiaries in developing countries. For example, engineering soybeans to resist spoilage makes them less suitable for producing tempeh which is a significant source of protein that depends on fermentation. The use of modified soybeans results in a lumpy texture that is less palatable and less convenient when cooking.

The first genetically modified food product was a tomato which was transformed to delay its ripening..

Biotechnology in cheese enzymes produced by micro-organisms provide an alternative to animal rennet â€" a cheese coagulant â€" and an alternative supply for cheese makers. This also eliminates possible public concerns with animal-derived material, although there are currently no plans to develop synthetic milk, thus making this argument less compelling. Enzymes offer an animal-friendly alternative to animal rennet. While providing comparable quality, they are theoretically also less expensive.

About 85 million tons of wheat flour is used every year to bake bread.By adding an enzyme called maltogenic amylase to the flour, bread stays fresher longer. Assuming that 10â€"15% of bread is thrown away as stale, if it could be made to stay fresh another 5â€"7 days then perhaps 2 million tons of flour per year would be saved. Other enzymes can cause bread to expand to make a lighter loaf, or alter the loaf in a range of ways.

Reduced dependence on fertilizers, pesticides and other agrochemicals

Most of the current commercial applications of modern biotechnology in agriculture are on reducing the dependence of farmers on agrochemicals. For example, (Bt) is a soil bacterium that produces a protein with insecticidal qualities. Traditionally, a fermentation process has been used to produce an insecticidal spray from these bacteria. In this form, Bt toxin occurs as an inactive protoxin, which requires digestion by an insect to be effective. There are several Bt toxins and each one is specific to certain target insects. Crop plants have now been engineered to contain and express the genes for Bt toxin, which they produce in its active form. When a susceptible insect ingests the transgenic crop cultivar expressing the Bt protein, it stops feeding and soon thereafter dies as a result of the Bt toxin binding to its gut wall. Bt corn is now commercially available in a number of countries .Crops have also been genetically engineered to acquire tolerance to broad-spectrum herbicide. The lack of herbicides with broad-spectrum activity and no crop injury was a consistent limitation in crop weed mangement

the difference between GMO and traditional cultivation on yield

GM crops are more productive and have a larger yield.

Offer more nutritional value and better flavor.

A possibility that they could eliminate allergy-causing properties in some foods.

Inbuilt resistance to pests, weeds and disease.

More capable of thriving in regions with poor soil or adverse climates.

More environment friendly as they require less herbicides and pesticides.

Foods are more resistent and stay ripe for longer so they can be shipped long distances or kept on shop shelves for longer periods.

As more GM crops can be grown on relatively small parcels of land, GM crops are an answer to feeding growing world populations.

GM crops do not increase yield potential

At best, GM crops have performed no better than their non-GM counterparts, with GM soya beans giving consistently lower yields for over a decade .Controlled comparative field trials of GM/non-GM soya suggest that 50% of the drop in yield is due to the genetic disruptive effect of the GM transformation process [44]. Similarly, field tests of Bt insecticide-producing maize hybrids showed that they took longer to reach maturity and produced up to 12% lower yields than their non-GM counterpart .

Conclusion

that GMO crops such any new research has advantages and disadvantages ,so it isnot better than traditional cultivation althougth its yield may be higher than lacal cultivation so before it be applied completly we must eliminate its harms.

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