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The following highlight the few ways in which biotechnology has found its way in agriculture –

Biotechnology is best defined as the use of scientific techniques to improve and alter plants, animals and microorganisms’ value. Over the years, biotechnology has found its way to several fields including medicine, agriculture, genetic engineering etc. In this article, you will come across the application of biotechnology in agriculture and its role in brief.

One can define agricultural biotechnology as a set of scientific techniques which can improve plants, micro-organisms and animals on the basis of DNA and its concepts. Arguably the use of biotechnology in agriculture is deemed to be more effective than that of agrochemical. The latter is believed to be responsible for causing environmental distress and is also somewhat unfeasible for farmers. The following highlight the few ways in which biotechnology has found its way in agriculture –

Test Your Knowledge: Find out why toxin produced by Bacillus thuringiensis is not toxic to itself.

The role of biotechnology in agriculture is multifaceted. Some of the most prevalent benefits of biotechnology in agriculture include –

With better disease control and increased tolerance to drought and flooding, biotechnology leads to a significant increase in crop production. This does not just match the ever-growing demand for food but also helps farmers to lower losses.

The techniques of biotechnology serve as cost-effective solutions to problems pertaining to pests. Farmers have been able to transform crops like cotton, corn and potato to synthesise a protein that tackles issues of pests effectively.

It has also enabled farmers to produce crops with a higher nutritional value and enhanced flavour and texture. For instance, the technology has made it possible to cultivate soybeans with high protein content, beans with more amino acids and potatoes with starch.

It further helps to improve the taste and flavour of crops by enhancing the activity of enzymes present in plants. Also, it helps in keeping the yield fresh for longer.

Most farmers rely on herbicides to control the growth of weed which often leads to soil erosion. However, genetically engineered food is resistant to a variety of chemicals, including herbicides; as a result, the scale of soil erosion is significantly low.

Viral infections spread by insects are often difficult to contain, and also the use of insecticides tend to pose a threat to both soil and quality of produce. Nonetheless, genetically modified plants are less susceptible to viral infection and make it easier for farmers to contain crop damage. Though there is an array of benefits in applying biotechnology in agriculture, it is not entirely devoid of flaws. To elaborate, there are some fears pertaining to health, societal and environmental issues. For example, resistance to antibiotics, resistance to insecticide, growth of superweed and loss of biodiversity are among the many fears that relate to the application of biotechnology in agriculture. However, one can hope that with the advancement of technology, scientists will find practical solutions to tackle the fears and associated risks effectively.  

Ans. It is the use of scientific techniques and principles to improve and modify plants, animals and organisms. It is extensively used in fields like agriculture, medicine, and genetic engineering to enhance the value of living things.

Ans. Importance of biotechnology in crop improvement is multifaceted. It does not just help to increase productivity but also improves the quality of crop production. Also, it helps to eliminate the risks of infestation and disease.

Ans. Biotechnology in agriculture has found application in rDNA technology, tissue culture, somatic hybridisation, embryo rescue, molecular diagnostics, etc. All of these tend to increase productivity in agriculture and protect crops from damage or infestation.