Saturday, November 14, 2015
BIOTECHNOLOGY : A PARADIGM SHIFT.
Biotechnology making better crops and livestock by careful selection of traits to increase yield,produce disease and pest resistance and drought resistance products. This entails a collection of specific technique to improve plant and animals. Every living form; plants,animals and even micro organisms have codes called genes, which are information about what that living form.These genes represent traits about that living form that cannot be easily recognized by looking at the organism.Welcome to genetic engineering!!!. The work on genes dates back to sir Mendel; who explained how traits can be transferred and also what traits to expect in selective breeding both in plants and animals.This method was adopted to produce desired progeny. The work has progressed over the years with enormous technological development....resulting in biotechnology in agriculture. Agriculture has evolved over the years with many innovations to solve pressing issues such as food scarcity, diseases, environmental factors (such as flood,drought and arid region ),food preservation and lower yields. These issues have been identified as major causes of lack of food security thus various solutions have been proffered typically biotechnology; which is the use of genetically engineered strains of plants and animals to produce better strains with higher yield and enhanced flavors. Farmers have been improving plants and animals through selection and breeding desirable traits.Bio technology enhances breeders ability to make improvement in crops and livestock,this is achieved through various techniques used to improve plants and animals. Bio technology use gene modification,genetic improvement and genetic engineering.Crops improved with transferred DNA referred to as genetic improvement have been developed to aid farmers to increase productivity . Biotechnology holds the key to food security with higher yield and better products Genetic modification/genetic improvement/genetic engineering; refers to the process where there is transfer of useful characteristics into plants and animals. This process allows transfer of specific traits to plants or animals to produce improved and better versions.Crops improved with genetic modification aid farmers to increase productivity by reducing crop damage from weeds,diseases and insects. Molecular markers; the use in agriculture involves the use of DNA of a plant/animal that posses desirable trait,even when not visible.This has resulted in breeding that are more specific and ensure better products. This process has been used by the international institute of tropical agriculture to produce cow pea resistant to bruchid, disease resistant white yam and cassava resistant to cassava mosaic disease. Molecular markers is useful to identify undesirable genes that can be eliminated in future generation. Molecular diagnosis are methods to detect genes/gene products that are very precise and specific.Molecular diagnosis are used in agriculture to accurately diagnose crops and livestock diseases.The application in agriculture is vaccine production,these vaccines are cheaper,better and safer.They are stable at room temperature,hence refrigeration is not necessary making it very acceptable in remote villages. In the Philippines, biotechnology has been used to develop an improved vaccine to protect cattle and water buffalo against hemorrhagic septicemia. Tissue culture; this is the regeneration of plants in laboratory from disease-free plant part.This technique allows for the reproduction of disease free planting material for crops.This method has been used to produce improved crops such as pineapples,bananas,pawpaws and avocados. This tissue culture has also been used in food production especially cheese making,,also in animal husbandry where a sheep(dolly) was produced from mammary cells. The potential of biotechnology is explosive and can solve food scarcity issues and environmental pollution and food poisoning from use of pesticides.The process of biotechnology have produced crops that have been engineered to produce their own Bt protein(bacillus thuringiensis) a soil bacterium that contains a protein