Plant Biotechnology: Introduction To Genetic Engineering

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3. Description 3.1 Introduction to Biotechnology Biotechnology is defined as a set of tools that uses living organisms (or parts of organisms) to make or modify a product, improve plants, trees or animals, or develop microorganisms for specific uses. Traditionally improvement in plants and animals were done through breeding or hybridization methods which were time consuming, laborious and may combine desirable traits with undesirable ones. In 1970s with the development in the field of molecular biology scientist were able to manipulate genes- which is the basic physical and functional unit of hereditary and is made up of DNA. This technology is called as genetic engineering and is an important tool that allowed transfer of genes to any plant,…show more content…
Traditionally plant breeding methods were practiced to select for beneficial characters of the plants. However the process requires selection for several generations so that plants with set of desired characters can be selected. In last few years plant breeders have been able to precisely incorporate desired characters in the plants by making use of genetic engineering methods. Some of the plant biotechnological applications are discussed below. 1. Increased crop productivity Biotechnology has allowed to improved plant productivity by introduction of characters such as disease resistance and drought resistance. Through genetic engineering and gene transfer methods researchers are now able to transfer the disease resistance and drought resistance genes into important agricultural crops. For example, researchers from University of Jember, Indonesia had developed transgenic sugar cane that expressed glycine betaine gene from Rhizobium meliloti resulting in 20-30% higher sugar production than its conventional counterpart during drought. 2. Pest…show more content…
Genetic Engineering in animals Current research in genetic engineering of animals has potential application in medicine, agricultural applications and human health. Genetically modified organism like Knock out mice can be used as model systems for studying human diseases and for identification of important genes contributing to the disease condition. Genetically modified pigs may possibly be used as organ donors for human transplantations. Genetically modified animals can also be used for production of human therapeutic hormones like insulin. 3. Animal agriculture Animals are typically breed for production of important animal based food product like meat eggs, milk etc and also for recreational purposes. Through the use of biotechnology the animal health and productivity is enhanced. For eg the recombinant Bovine Somatotrophin hormone is injected in lactating cows to improve milk

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