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 based on DNA and its concepts.
Arguably the use of biotechnology in agriculture is deemed to be more effective than that of agrochemicals. 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 –
Genetic engineering / rDNA technology
It is a technology in which one or more genes are modified deliberately in the lab. This is achieved by the process of using recombinant DNA (rDNA) technology, thereby altering the genetic makeup of an organism.
Tissue culture involves nurturing fragments of plant or animal tissue in a controlled environment where they survive and continue to grow. For this tissue has to be isolated first.
It is a form of in-vitro culture technique for plants. Here an immature embryo is nurtured in a controlled environment to ensure its survival. This can help in the preservation of species of seeds that are nearing extinction. This can include heritage seeds, local grains of cultural significance, etc.
It is a process through which the cellular genome is manipulated through the process of protoplast fusion.
In genetic engineering, Molecular-gene markers are specific segments of DNA that are associated with a particular location within the genome.
Molecular diagnostics is a set of techniques used to analyze biological markers in the genome and proteome. It helps in determining how their cells express their genes as proteins
It is a formulation that is injected into a host body to stimulate a desired immune response. It helps in preventing various diseases such as polio. Its production is carried out widely currently to fight against covid.
It is a clonal propagation of plants in a closed vessel under aseptic and controlled conditions.
Test Your Knowledge: Find out why the 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 –
Increase in Crop Production
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.
Better Crop Protection
The techniques of biotechnology serve as cost-effective solutions to problems about pests. Farmers have been able to transform crops like cotton, corn, and potato to synthesize a protein that tackles issues of pests effectively.
Increase in Nutrition Value
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.
Fresher Produce and Better Taste
It further helps to improve the taste and flavor 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 weeds 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 tends to pose a threat to both soil and the 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 about 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.
Learning about the role of Biotechnology in Agriculture can help in understanding the different aspects and how new technology can change the face of agriculture.
Q1. What is Biotechnology?
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.
Q2. What is the Importance of Biotechnology in Crop Improvement?
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.
Q3. What are the Applications of Biotechnology in Agriculture?
Biotechnology in agriculture has found application in rDNA technology, tissue culture, somatic hybridization, embryo rescue, molecular diagnostics, etc. All of these tend to increase productivity in agriculture and protect crops from damage or infestation.
Q4. How will Biotechnology in Agriculture - Applications, Important Role, and FAQ by Vedantu help me?
Biotechnology is an emerging field and it is considered to be the future. The same has been extended in agriculture. Therefore this topic is very widely included across all the academic levels. Biotechnology in Agriculture - Applications, Important Role, and FAQ is therefore made available to you by Vedantu on its website. It is a very important topic in CBSE Class 12 Biology as well. At least one question appears from this chapter every year in Class 12 board exams. If you are someone who is preparing for government exams such as the prestigious UPSC exam this topic is still very much relevant for you. Because many questions are being asked in the prelims exams based on agriculture and biotechnology.
Q5. How relevant is Biotechnology in Agriculture - Applications, Important Role, and FAQ in current times?
Biotechnology in Agriculture - Applications, Important Role, and FAQ is extremely important in current times. Due to increasing population and rising demand for agricultural outputs existing land resources are reeling under stress. The only solution is to boost productivity. This can be achieved through biotechnology only. With biotechnology, high-yielding variety grains can be formulated that would be resistant to changing climatic conditions and they also show resistance to pests and insects. All of these can lead to an increase in the productivity of outputs.
Q6. From where can I get my basics clear for Biotechnology in Agriculture - Applications, Important Role, and FAQ?
Vedantu’s website is the perfect platform for you to understand the basics of Biotechnology in Agriculture - Applications, Important Role, and FAQ clearly. The content available on this webpage is prepared by subject matter experts of biology. All the topics are covered in great detail only after going through various reference books available on the topic. You can access this information for free on the official website of Vedantu. There is no need to sign-up. You can directly read it from the website for free. You can refer to other important topics of Biology from Vedantu’s website.
Q7. What topics should be covered in Biotechnology in Agriculture - Applications, Important Role, and FAQ?
Biotechnology in Agriculture - Applications, Important Role, and FAQ is a non-exhaustive topic and has a lot of data available for the same. But in order to cover the basics, you need to go through the following topics:
Definition of Biotechnology
The technologies involved in Biotechnology in agriculture
Earliest applications of biotechnology in agriculture
The latest application of biotechnology in agriculture
How biotechnology helps in improving yield and productivity
Role of genetic engineering, tissue culture, etc. in fortification of food grains
This list is not exhaustive and can include further many other topics that you may deem fit.
Q8. Can Biotechnology in Agriculture - Applications, Important Role, and FAQ help me in selecting a career in Agriculture?
Biotechnology in Agriculture - Applications, Important Role, and FAQ can help you only to a certain extent in selecting a career in agriculture. Here Vedantu has covered only the basics of this topic and it is not meant for vocational guidance. You can read the information and learn about the topic and its application in agriculture. This can introduce you to the subject. After this, you need to do additional research about various courses available in the country as well as about the prospects.