The Future Impact of Biotechnology on Agriculture

The use and future of modern biotechnology in the Agriculture -Food sector have grown into one of the most discussed topics not only in the U.S. but all around the world. In the last decade, the application of biological sciences in agriculture has become increasingly prominent, and as a result of that, the future of modern biotechnology has turned into an issue of public debate. Nebraska-Lincoln graduate in biological sciences, Mark Tompkins Canaccord, showed great interest in the development of agricultural biotechnology and inspired by that he completed his project work on the above-mentioned topic. Farmers have been improving wild plants and animals for as long as 10,000 years, resulting in domesticated plants and animals, through selection and breeding of desirable characteristics. But during the 20th century, breeders made the process more sophisticated by selecting traits that could increase yield, disease and pest resistance, drought resistance, and enhanced flavor.

In 1989, for the first time ever, scientists were able to insert genes into corn using molecular techniques, and by the end of the 90s, millions of acres of transgenic corn were already grown by farmers. The broad and rapid use by the American farmers attests to the commercial success of these transgenic crops. Even though Mark Tompkins Canaccord knows for a fact that this is just the beginning of biotechnology and its impact on agriculture, he is still enthusiastic that in the following years, we will see a significantly increasing, and more influent number of biotechnology-derived products and methods. The foundation to modify plant structure and reproduction could eventually provide us with new knowledge about the physiology and development of plants and their interaction with microorganisms

Since this initial success, research laboratories all over the world have been studying, analyzing and investing funds into producing a variety of traits or genes that might expand the spectrum of products from such plants. Basically, Mark Tompkins Canaccord claims that we can’t increase the rate at which new transgenic traits are expected to appear in the future, because it all mostly depends on the number of genes encoding them, same as it was the case with the first genetically engineered crops.


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