NEET Biology Notes Biotechnology Principles and its Applications Applications of Biotechnology in Agriculture
Applications of Biotechnology in Agriculture
Applications of Biotechnology in Agriculture
There are three options to increase food production as
- Agrochemical-based agriculture
- Organic culture
- Genetically engineered crop-based agriculture
Green revolution succeeded in increasing the yield of crops mainly due to
- Use of improved varieties of crops and
- Use of agrochemicals (fertilisers and pesticides).
- Use of genetically modified plants is useful in making more tolerant plants to abiotic stresses like cold, heat, drought, etc.
Production of Pest Resistant Plants
- Bt cotton is produced by a bacterium called Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt for short). Bt toxin gene has been cloned from the bacteria and been expressed in plants to provide resistance to insect without the need for insecticides, e.g. Bt cotton, Bt corn, rice, tomato, potato and soyabean, etc. The gene (cry genes) encoding the protein (toxin) are isolated from the bacterium and incorporated into several crop plants. There are a number of cry genes, e.g. cry I Ac, cry II Ab, cry I Ab, etc.
Bt brinjal It is a transgenic brinjal (also known as an egg dant or aubergine), created by inserting a crystal protejsa gene (Cry I Ac) from the soil bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis into the genome of various brinjal varieties.
- Protection Against Nematodes
Such as Meloidogyne incognita infects tobacco plants and reduces their yields. RNA interference (RNAi) is a process applied to prevent this infestation. RNAi involves silencing of a specific mRNA due to a complementary dsRNA molecule that binds to and prevents translation of the mRNA silencing.
- Golden Rice
It is a variety of Oryza sativa rice produced through genetic engineering to biosynthesise β carotene, a precursor of pro-vitamin-A in the edible parts of rice. Golden rice was developed as a fortified food to be used in areas, where there is a shortage of dietary vitamin-A.
- Golden Rice 2
It can produces up to 23 times more (3-carotene than the original variety of golden rice. Goldish rice was created by Ingo Potrykus of the Institute of Plant Sciences at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, working with Peter Beyer of the University of Freiburg.
- Flavr savr
By the use of antisense RNA techhology, the enzyme polygalactouronase, which causes damage to pectin is deactivated and the tomato can be kept a fresh for longer duration.
It is the variety of either rape seed (Brassica napus L.) or field mustard (Brassica campestris L. or Brassica rapa var.). Its seeds are used to produce edible oil, suitable for consumption by humans and livestock. The oil is also suitable to be use as biodiesel.
Applications of Biotechnology in Medicine
In medicine, biotechnology has tremendous , applications. Some important ones are given here :
- Genetically Engineered Insulin
In 1983, Eli Lilly, an American Company, prepared two DNA sequences coding for chain A and B of human insulin molecule and introduced them into plasmids of Escherichia coli to produce insulin.
- Gene Therapy
Gene therapy is a collection of methods that allows correction of a gene defect that has been diagnosed in a child/embryo. )
Correction of genetic defect involves deliver of a normal gene into the individual or embryo to take over the function of and compensate for the non-functional gene.
The first clinical gene therapy was done in 1990 in a 4 years old girl with Adenosine Deaminase (ADA) deficiency.
- Molecular Diagnostics
For early diagnosis of disease, the techniques like recombinant DNA technology, Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) and Enzyme Linked Immuno Sorbent Assay (ELISA) serve the purpose.
- Transgenic Animals
Transgenic animal is one that carries a foreign gene that has been deliberately inserted into its genome. Transgenic sheep and goats have been produced that express foreign protein in their milk. Transgenic chicken are now able to synthesise human proteins in the ‘white’ portion of the eggs.
Transgenic milk is produced by a sheep named ‘Tracy’. This milk has high quantity of proteins, which are required by humans.
- Ethical Issues
It is mandatory to adopt some ethical standards to evaluate the morality of all human activities that might help or harm living organisms.
Hence, the Indian Government has set-up organisation such as Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) which will make decision regarding the validity of GM research and the safety of GM organisms for public services.
- Biosafety Issues
The modification/usage of living organisms for public services (a food and medicine sources) has created problems with patents and problems of biopiracy arised.
Certain companies are being granted patents for the products and technologies that make use of the genetic materials, plants and other biological resources that have long been identified developed and used by farmers and people of specific region/country.
For example, an American Company got patient rights on Basmati rice through the US Patent and Trademark office. This allowed the company to sell a new variety of Basmati, in the US and abroad.
Biopiracy refers to the use of the bioresources by multinational companies and other organisations without proper authorisation from the countries and people concerned without compensatory payment.