Term Paper: Genetic Engineering and Agriculture

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Genetic Engineering and Agriculture

What, exactly, is Genetic Engineering? What are the various processes that are involved in the carrying out of Genetic Engineering? Genetic Engineering is basically the selection and the willful or deliberate alteration or change of the genes or the genetic material that is present in any living being, by man. The process helps man to produce endogenous proteins with properties that are different from the original material, or produce entirely and completely different proteins from the original material. Genes can be, in essence, modified, and altered and changed within the DNA molecule so that the basic information that it contains would be altered. (Definition of Genetic Engineering)

One of the most important events that happened in the 20th century may be that of Genetic Engineering, and when the same was applied to agriculture, the result was 'transgenic crops' and also 'transgenic animals', which are nothing but products wherein the basic genetic structure was altered or modified in order to better the material within them. Some of the examples of successful alterations by the method of genetic engineering are that of rice. When it was discovered that rice did not contain Vitamin a, and that in several parts of Asia rice was the staple food, and most of the people of these regions appeared to be suffering from a Vitamin a deficiency, then it was decided to genetically modify the rice so that the various problems associated with such a deficiency could be effectively prevented. This experiment was initially carried out in the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, and rice was crossbred in order to produce rice that would be rich in Vitamin a (a Report on Genetically Engineered Crops)

Another example of the benefits of genetic engineering when applied to agriculture is that of producing an 'herbicide resistant transgenic corn', which would resist the deadly parasite 'Striga' or 'witchweed' that farmers in Africa had been struggling with for centuries. This modified corn would be genetically modified to be resistant to this parasite, and these would be able to resist the parasite and prevent damages and losses fro the farmers. This system could also be used for the genetic modification of other crops like millet and sorghum. Cheese, which was traditionally produced by adding rennet, which was extracted from the stomachs of calves, can now be produced with the help of the material called 'chymosin' that is extracted from yeast. (a Report on Genetically Engineered Crops)

Genetically modified foods and animals are now a common factor, and it is now an accepted fact that GE or genetically modified foods are better than normal foods and animals. However, there is still… [END OF PREVIEW]

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