To begin, agricultural biotechnology is the utilization of newly developed scientific techniques that have the ability to improve plants and livestock, which are not possible solely by regular breeding. After thoroughly studying the concept of DNA, scientists have invented solutions to escalate the use of agricultural productiveness. These solutions are implemented in many different ways, such as: genetic engineering, vaccines, molecular diagnostics and many more. Although agricultural biotechnology has been used for a long time, there are still those who are unsure about it’s potential issues and safety towards the environment. As the years go by, technology has become a substantial part of our everyday lives in multiple forms, farming being one of them. This position paper will discuss the benefits of agricultural biotechnology and how our crop development has evolved as well.
There are many forms of biotechnology that have been applied to agriculture, however one of the major uses that has been successful is genetic engineering. Genetic engineering is also known as recombinant DNA technology and is the action of altering a living things DNA so that is can possess certain attributes. It is the human adjustment of the genetic code of an organism, resulting in it’s biosynthetic properties to be transposed. This allows sections of DNA to be chosen and recombined within another organism, be it a plant, animal or a bacterium. An example of genetic engineering with regarding animals, would be the environmentally friendly pigs. These breeds of pigs were developed to digest their food in a better way, resulting in the production of fertilizer that is made from the animal’s waste, which is less detrimental towards our environment. Not only were scientists modifying plants and animals, they were also adjusting bacteria to be used in medications. For example, in the year 1982, human insulin was manufactured by genetic engineering technology from the E. Coli bacteria and is now used all over the world to help keep a person’s blood sugar level from reaching too high or too low. There are numerous advantages regarding the use of agricultural biotechnology and genetic engineering, such as heightened crop fertility, strengthened crop safety, many environmental benefits and enhancements in food processing.
Agricultural biotechnology has assisted to create crop efficiency by presenting attributes, for example, infection obstruction and an elevated level of dry spell resilience to the yields. Due to the fact that these traits were successfully developed, it most definitely sped up the process of productivity because it allows the crops to grow in a healthy manner, even though there might not be a sufficient amount of rainfall. The use of biotechnology on agriculture has also strengthened our crop safety as farmers are now able to utilize crop-protective technologies which are low-priced. Crops such as potatoes, cotton and corn were genetically engineered and are now able to create a type of protein that is able to harm insects and bacteria when feeding on the plants. With biotechnology, we are able to turn an ordinary crop into a crop that is completely resistant towards certain pesticides and harmful bacteria. Most importantly, biotechnology offers numerous environmental benefits, one of them being that biotech crops aid to reduce the use of pesticides, successfully subsidizing fuel, water and packaging which are all now eliminated from the manufacturing and distribution, making it more economically friendly. Agricultural biotechnology has also assisted providing much higher yields per hectare, resulting in farming being way more efficient due to a limited land space to grow these crops.
Biotechnology has also not only directly helped farm workers as “In 2010 alone, biotech crops were responsible for greenhouse gas reductions equivalent to removing 8.6 million cars from the road for a year.” (Brooks, 2016) Last but not least, there are also many benefits of agricultural biotechnology towards the enhancement of food processing, as genetic engineering has granted new options for improving nutritional flavour, value and texture. For example, genetic engineering has developed soybeans with a higher level of protein percentage and rice with the capability to produce beta-carotene which is a source of vitamin A and assists to prevent blindness. It has an effect on the freshness of the produce, for example “The shelf life of some processed foods such as peanuts has also been improved by using ingredients that have had their fatty acid profile modified.” (Wieczorek, 2003)