In traditional breeding, crosses are made in a relatively Why Are Agricultural Biotechnology Products Being Developed? Juma, C. and A. Gupta. The exchange is far more precise because only a single (or at most, a few), specific gene that has been identified as providing a useful trait is being transferred to the recipient plant. acteristics of living organisms—at the molecular level. ments of DNA that code genes for a specific character- IFPRI 2020 Vision Focus 2 Brief No. Phone: (515) 292-2125, fax: (515) 292-4512. These include the international protocol on biosafety being negotiated under the Convention on Biological Diversity, and whether this will provide oversight on traits and/or processes of genetic modification. Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR). ganisms than was possible with traditional breeding tech- Countries also disagree about whether socioeconomic effects of LMOs, liability and compensation, and pharmaceutical products should be included in the protocol, although these topics fall outside the scope of the protocol, as set by the Conference of the Parties to the CBD in Jakarta in 1994 (Decision 2/5). and breeding.An example of traditional agricultural bio- In G. J. Persley and M. M. Lantin (Eds. Benefits and Risks Each genome is divided into a series of functional units, called genes, there being 20,000 to 25,000 such genes in typical crop plants like corn and soybean. There also are ethical concerns as to the moral dimensions of patenting living organisms and the cross-species movement of genes. Honolulu (HI): University of Hawaii. Two primary methods currently exist for introducing transgenic DNA into plant genomes in a functional manner. Biotechnology, in the form of genetic engineering, is a facet of science that has the potential to provide important benefits if used carefully and ethically. Genetically Modified Crops: The Ethical and Social Issues. The countries include several of the world's major producers and exporters of agricultural commodities: Argentina, Australia, Canada, China, France, Mexico, South Africa, Spain, and the United States. An organism that has been modified, or transformed, using modern techniques of genetic exchange is commonly referred to as a genetically-modified organism (GMO). The biosafety risk assessments conducted prior to thousands of experimental and field trials in the United States focus on the characteristics of the organism being assessed, including its novel traits, intended use of the organism, and features of the recipient environment. Source: based on Persley and Doyle, 1999. This approach has been recommended by the OECD and is the basis of the U.S. regulatory system (Juma and Gupta, 1999). practiced for a long time, as people have sought to im- The major technical limitation on the application of recombinant DNA technology to improving plants is insufficient understanding of exactly which genes control agriculturally important traits and how they act to do so. The reduction of biodiversity is a technology-transcending risk. On occasion, introduced varieties may enhance biological diversity, as for example for wheat in Turkey and corn in Mexico where new landraces are evolving by genetic introgression of genes from improved varieties into traditional landraces. Early pioneers in this field used information about various plant species to create cross-breeding opportunities to improve yield, flavor, size, and color of their harvests. This would be of great benefit to those farming in marginal lands worldwide, because breeding for such traits has had limited success with conventional breeding of the major staple food crops. Biotechnology for Developing Country Agriculture: Problems and Opportunities. nology-enhanced foods,” others call them Biotechnology is the application of scientific techniques Another key dispute within the biosafety protocol negotiations is how decisions under AIA can be based on science and precaution. This system should be closely associated with existing regulatory arrangements for new pharmaceuticals, foods, and agricultural and veterinary products. The pros of genetic engineering in Agriculture relies on these logics. lows transfer of DNA between more distantly related or- In the broadest sense, traditional biotechnology has been used for thousands of years, since the advent of the first agricultural practices, for the improvement of plants, animals, and microorganisms. National, regional, and international guidelines for risk assessment and risk management provide a basis for national regulatory systems. New developments in agricultural biotechnology are being used to increase the productivity of crops, primarily by reducing the costs of production by decreasing the needs for inputs of pesticides, mostly in crops grown in temperate zones. This markedly expands the range of useful traits that ultimately can be applied to the development of new crop varieties. A key point of disagreement centers around whether LMOs, which are intended for food, feed, or processing rather than for use as seed in the importing country, should be covered under the AIA procedure. If you wish to opt out, please close your SlideShare account. The current debate on labeling includes the issues of whether product labeling should be mandatory or voluntary, what information should be on the label so as to inform consumers as to their choice, and whether labeling is feasible in bulk commodities that may contain a mixture of GMO and non-GMO crops. The advent of large scale sequencing of entire genomes of organisms as diverse as bacteria, fungi, plants, and animals, is leading to the identification of the complete complement of genes found in many different organisms. Published by the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR) and issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Acts of May 8 and June Biotechnology refers generally to the application of a wide range of scientific techniques to the modification and improvement of plants, animals, and microorganisms that are of economic importance. As a hypothetical example, if the genes that allow certain bacteria to tolerate high external levels of salt can serve the same purpose when transferred into crops such as potatoes, wheat, or rice, then the production of such improved food crops on marginally saline lands may be possible. A gene encoding beta carotene/vitamin A formation has been incorporated experimentally in rice. regard to race, sex, age, religion, color, national origin, ancestry, disability, marital status, arrest and court record, sexual orientation, or veteran status. Wieczorek A. CGIAR Secretariat, The World Bank, Washington D.C. (in press). CGIAR Secretariat, The World Bank, Washington D.C. 10 pp. Consequently, intergovernmental negotiations have been in progress over the past several years to negotiate a legally binding biosafety protocol under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). Science-based risk assessment for the approval and use of plants in agricultural and other environments. Risks and opportunities associated with GM foods may be integrated into the general food safety regulations of a country. Benefits and Risks of Agricultural Biotechnology.