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Bio-technology and the future of Food Production - Essay Example

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In the paper “Bio-technology and the future of Food Production” the author provides a brief history of the new GM technology, explains what is genetic modification and how it is carried out, explains the benefits and controversies of genetically modified organisms on environment and health…
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Bio-technology and the future of Food Production
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"Bio-technology and the future of Food Production"

Download file to see previous pages A broad definition of genetic engineering also includes selective breeding and other means of artificial selection
Genetically Modified food: Foods and food ingredients consisting of or containing genetically modified organisms, or produced from such organisms.
Genetically Modified Organism (GMO): An organism produced from genetic engineering techniques that allow the transfer of functional genes from one organism to another, including from one species to another. Bacteria, fungi, viruses, plants, insects, fish, and mammals are some examples of organisms the genetic material of which has been artificially modified in order to change some physical property or capability. Living modified organisms (LMOs), and transgenic organisms are other terms often used in place of GMOs.
Plant breeding: Plant breeding is use of techniques involving crossing plants to produce varieties with particular characteristics (traits) which are carried in the genes of the plants and passed on to future generations. Conventional/traditional plant breeding refers to techniques others than modern biotechnology, in particular cross-breeding, back-crossing.
Transgenic plants: Transgenic plants result from the insertion of genetic material from another organism so that the plant will exhibit a desired trait (Based on various sources).

Brief History of Genetic Engineering
Selective breeding started shortly after man initiated domestication of animals such as dogs, horses and oxen. The concept of artificial pollination is described in Assyrian relief art, dated to approximately 800 B.C. and plant grafting and animal breeding were common in Roman times. Gregor Johann Mendel in the 19th century...
Apart from the five principal countries, there are some countries with increasing GM crop cultivation. Paraguay, for example, reported the cultivation of 1.8 Mio hectares of GM soybean. India had, based on the annual percentage growth, the highest year-to-year growth with an increase of the Bt-cotton area from 0.1 Mio ha in 2003 to 1.3 Mio ha in 2005 counting for almost 15% of its total cotton area planted (James 2004, 2005). Additionally, there are various countries, which commercially grow GM crops on a smaller scale such as South Africa, Uruguay, Australia, Romania, Mexico, Spain and the Philippines (Sanvido et al. 2006).Techniques of Genetic Modification In simple terms, the gene technologist uses a "cutting-copying-pasting" approach to transfer genes from one organism to another. For this, bacterial enzymes are used that recognize, cut and join DNA at specific locations acting as molecular "scissors-and-tape". However, the selected gene is copied billions-fold, with the result that the amount of original genetic material in the modified organism is immeasurably small. Since DNA does not always readily move from one organism to another, "vehicles" such as plasmids (small rings of bacterial DNA) may be used; alternatively, some plant cells may be transformed by "shooting" small particles coated with the new DNA into the target cell using a special type of gun, called the "Gene Gun". The modified cell can then be used to regenerate a new organism. Then the movement of the desired gene(s) into another organism. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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