Advancements In Biotechnology

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Introduction:

Recent advances in science and technology has shown a great impact on all areas of the life. One of the most important fields of science and technology is Biotechnology. The advancement in biotechnology brought forward the solutions for many of the problems that human race were facing, including the problem of feeding a large population but at the same time, it poses some new threats and challenges to human beings as well. This short report discusses the merits and demerits of extensive applications of biotechnology, specially the impacts of genetically modified/engineered crops which brought up in market 1990s.

According to Wikipedia, the definition and process of genetically modified crops is summarised as “Genetically modified (GM) foods are foods derived from genetically modified organisms. Genetically modified organisms have had specific changes introduced into their DNA by genetic engineering, using a process of either Cisgenesis or Transgenesis. These techniques are much more precise than mutagenesis (mutation breeding) where an organism is exposed to radiation or chemicals to create a non-specific but stable change. Other techniques by which humans modify food organisms include selective breeding (plant breeding and animal breeding), and somaclonal variation”.

Following is the table of a summary of genetically modified foods that are approved by FDA for human consumption.

Table 1

GM Foods for human consumption evaluated by FDA

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Modified attribute GM plant product (number of varieties)

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Insect resistance Corn (8)

Tomato (1)

Potato (4)

Cotton ...

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...ng areas (3). In addition to it also affects the local ecosystem of the fertile land, by affecting insect and soil properties etc. As these genetically modified species are disease free, hence have longer lives, which pose a persistent threat to the environment, via cross pollination and by affecting the normal flora of the area (2). One of the examples of such threat was the genetically modified specie of mice, developed by Australian scientist to control the population growth of mice, but it resulted in complete destruction of whole specie. This example perfectly demonstrates the extent of negative effects of this technology (2, 3).

Conclusion

Although genetically modified crops offered a wide range of benefits but it also poses some very serious threats. Hence, the use of this technology should be discouraged and alternative methods should be discovered.
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