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The advantages and disadvantages of Tilling as a technique in plant breeding - Essay Example

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Through the advancement in agricultural technology new methods of plant and animal breeding has occurred in an effort to improve agricultural yield. The methods…
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The advantages and disadvantages of Tilling as a technique in plant breeding
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The Advantages and Disadvantages of Tilling as a Technique in Plant Breeding By Insert Semester In the modern day world there has been tremendous technological advancement in nearly all aspects of human life. Through the advancement in agricultural technology new methods of plant and animal breeding has occurred in an effort to improve agricultural yield. The methods advocated have so far proved as success since they have better qualities such as environmental adaptability, versatility and resistance to plant diseases as opposed the natural species. One such technology is TILING which is an acronym for Targeted Induced Local Lessons In Genomes (Ostergaard et al 2004). It is a technology that used in molecular biology to directly identify mutations in genes. These technologies have their advantages that make them suitable for adoption and use by human life as well as disadvantages that make them a hazard to human life. This paper, therefore, seeks to establish the advantages and disadvantages of TILLING in plant breeding.
TILLING is a molecular biology procedure that uses chemicals and x-rays to bring about undirected point mutations in a plant genome. This is usually the first step in the process. The second step involves an analysis of DNA which aids in the selection of plants that have a mutation that contains the desired gene (Schmidt et al 2011). The method combines a standard and an equally effective technique of mutagenesis with the use of a chemical mutagen such as Ethyl methanesulphonate (EMS) that contains a sensitive DNA screening method to which identifies point mutations in a target gene. This process of plant breeding may include mutation effects that may include gene deactivation and sub sequent reverse crossing with other varieties. This results with a plant that has the desirable mutation such as an amylase free potato.
Some biotechnology critics such as Greenpeace have done ‘acceptance’ tests on TILLING method and have cited a large difference in genetic engineering. Some of the advantages of this biological process are;
This means that the process can be applied on virtually every organism. This is because it entails modifying the molecular unit of heredity in a living organism. Therefore, plants can grow with a certain desired characteristic. This can be used to fight hunger by increasing food production.
Another great advantage of TILLING in plant breeding is that the method its adaptability to high throughput genotyping. This is because it allows choosing appropriate technology for the intended goals and stage of an experiment.
The method allows for the independence of the genome size level to be used, the reproduction system and generation time. Therefore this method offers an aspect of flexibility when conducting experiments.
However, this biological mutation method ha it own shortcomings as far as agricultural technology concerned in regards to plant breeding. These are;
High costs
The method is scientific and thus involves a lot of research to conduct and conclude its findings. It is frightfully expensive to carry out this model experiments which can take a lot of time before a prototype arrived.
Biological risks
This method being a biological process, it poses a substantial risk to living organisms as the technology can be used by unscrupulous scientist to develop harmful and dangerous organisms. It is for this reason that the balance of nature ought not to be interfered. It may bring forth gross harm to plants if not handled for the right purpose and objectives. This may have a ripple effect on other organisms in the food chain.
In conclusion therefore, TILLING is one of the improved ways of increasing food production globally. The agricultural technology employed in plant breeding posses no harms as opposed to other methods which lead to genetic tampering which can be catastrophic. In regards the high cost of plant breeding through this method other means of reducing the costs can be invented to make the process cheaper and available. Therefore the society should be open to this plant breeding method as the benefits accrued far outweigh the shortcomings.
Reference list
AGI. 2000. Analysis of the genome sequence of the flowering plant Arabidopsis thaliana. Nature 408, 796-815.
Feldmann, K.A. 1991. T-DNA insertion mutagenesis in Arabidopsis: mutational spectrum. Plant Journal 1, 71-82.
Heldt, H.W., & Piechulla, B. (2011). Plant biochemistry. Amsterdam, Academic.
Henikoff, S., Till, B.J. and Comai, L. 2004. TILLING. Traditional mutagenesis meets functional genomics. Plant Physiology 135, 630–636.
IRGSP. 2005. The map-based sequence of rice genome. Nature 436:793–800.
McCallum, C.M., Comai, L., Greene, E.A., Henikoff,. S. 2000. Targeting induced local lesions IN genomes (TILLING) for plant functional genomics. Plant Physiology. 123:439–442.
Ostergaard,L. and M.F.Yanofsky. 2004. Establishing genefunction by mutagenesis in Arabidopsis thaliana. Plant Journal 39:682-696
Schmidt, R., & Bancroft, I. (2011). Genetics and genomics of the brassicaceae. New York, Springer.
Shu, Q.Y., Forster, B., & Nakagawa, H. 2012. Plant Mutation Breeding and Biotechnology. Wallingford, CABI.
Tissier, A. F., Marillonnet, S., Klimyuk, V., Patel, K., Torres, M. A., Murphy, G. and Jones, J. D. 1999. Multiple independent defective suppressor-mutator transposon insertions in Arabidopsis: a tool for functional genomics. Plant Cell 11, 1841-1852.
Whitefield, P. 2004. The Earth care manual: a permaculture handbook for Britain other temperate climates. Hampshire, Sustainability Centre.
Yamayada, K., Lim, J., Dale, J.M., Chen, H., Shinn, P., Palm, C.J., Southwick, A.M., Wu, H.C., Kim, C., Nguyen, M., et al., 2003. Empirical analysis of transcriptional activity in the Arabidopsis genome. Science 302, 842-846, Read More
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