Transgenic Plants

Over the last 30 years, the field of genetic engineering has developed rapidly due to the greater understanding of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) as the chemical double helix code from which genes are made. The term genetic engineering is used to describe the process by which the genetic makeup of an organism can be altered using “recombinant DNA technology.” This involves the use of laboratory tools to insert, alter, or cut out pieces of DNA that contain one or more genes of interest. Genetic engineering techniques are used only when all other techniques have been exhausted, i.e. when the trait to be introduced is not present in the germplasm of the crop; the trait is very difficult to improve by conventional breeding methods; and when it will take a very long time to introduce and/or improve such trait in the crop by conventional breeding methods Although there are many diverse and complex techniques involved in genetic engineering, its basic principles are reasonably simple. There are five major steps in the development of a genetically engineered crop. But for every step, it is very important to know the biochemical and physiological mechanisms of action, regulation of gene expression, and safety of the gene and the gene product to be utilized. There has been a consistent increase in the global area planted to transgenic crops from 1996 to 2012. About 170 million hectares was planted in 2012 to transgenic crops with high market value, such as herbicide tolerant soybean, maize, cotton, and canola; insect resistant maize, cotton, potato, and rice; and virus resistant squash and papaya. With genetic engineering, more than one trait can be incorporated or stacked into a plant. Transgenic crops with combined traits are also available commercially. These include herbicide tolerant and insect resistant maize and cotton.

Farmers have widely adopted GM technology. Between 1996 and 2015, the total surface area of land cultivated with GM crops increased by a factor of 100, from 17,000 square kilometers (4,200,000 acres) to 1,750,000 km2 (432 million acres). 10% of the world's croplands were planted with GM crops in 2010.] In the US, by 2014, 94% of the planted area of soybeans, 96% of cotton and 93% of corn were genetically modified varieties. In recent years GM crops expanded rapidly in developing countries. In 2013 approximately 18 million farmers grew 54% of worldwide GM crops in developing countries.

 

The alteration of crops to improve their production was performed through the basis of selection before the creation of transgenic. This selection has been going on for thousands of years. By the year 2050, world population may reach nine billions. Food production will need to increase at the same rate or more in order to satisfy the needs of such an enormous number of people in some older centuries. So, there is a need to use the genetic techniques to improve crops over the recent decades. The future of GM crops remains a vital debate, as its applications have several advantages and disadvantages.

  • Genetic materials of plant cells
  • Restriction enzymes
  • Plant transformation and transformation vectors
  • PCR and hybridization techniques
  • Mendelian genetics to molecular biology
  • Gene silencing
  • Mendelian genetics to molecular biology

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