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Old Tuesday, May 01, 2007
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Post Biotechnology in Farming

What is Biotechnology?
Biotechnology is a scientific method for improving or modifying a plantís genetic structure. It is a tool that can provide benefits to farmers, consumers and the environment.
Farmers have used genetic modification for centuries. But in the past, genetically modifying a plant involved many generations of crossbreeding and hybridization. Virtually every crop grown commercially for food or fiber is a product of this genetic modification process. The drawback of this method is that it allows genes of unknown function to move into our crops along with the desired genes.

Biotechnology allows plant breeders to be more precise, selecting single genes that produce desired traits and moving them from one plant or organism to another.

Genetic Modification Timeline

The corn todayís consumers are familiar with has been dramatically modified from what many scholars believe to be its wild ancestor, a grass called teosinte (tee-o-sin-tay). These earliest ears of corn were the size of your little finger and looked more like grass than modern yellow corn.

What Can Biotechnology Do?

Biotechnology helps develop crops that are less vulnerable to diseases or insects. That benefits the farmer and the consumer, because it can produce safer food products.


Thanks to biotechnology, we can develop crops that have a better mix of nutrients, such as more complete proteins or higher vitamin content.


Biotechnology often reduces the farmerís need to use pesticides to control insects and weeds.


Biotechnology allows us to achieve higher crop production with less acreage. By reducing the pressure to cut down natural habitat in order to increase crop acres, this may be especially important in countries with poor soil and large populations to feed.
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