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Created with Fabric.js 1.4.5 Agricultural Biotechnology and Climate Change Climate change has been causing problems in many current industries, and the agricultural industry is no exception. and sometimes a shift in a couple of degrees Celsius can kill an entire crop. It is for this reason that biotechnology Classic agriculture and fisheries are highly dependent on specific temperature and weather conditions, in agriculture is becoming more and more prominent, as to find a way around these environmental obstacles. What they are doing Agricultural biotechnology is defined as acollection of techniques used to modify (usually with aims to improve) plants. Biotechnology is used in many fields ofagriculture, however the main focus of thisstudy will be the modifications to plantsas to overcome environmental stresses,such as temperature and weather.Scientists today are modifying crops so that they have a higher resistance to cold, can tolerate drought for longer periods of time and are even less susceptible to disease. These modifications are not only to produce a higher crop yield today, but to prepare for a harsher, or at least very different, climate of the future. How they are doing it There are several techniques scientists use today in order to alter a plant. One example is the in-vitro method, where plant cells aregrown in a laboratory under unfavorable conditions. This allows the scientists to select specific cells that are, for example,less susceptible to disease or perhaps more tolerant of metallic soils.Another method often used is thetransference of certain characteristics from one organism (not necessarily aplant) to the plant. For example, in over 30% of all arable land, pollution and climate change has resulted in high levels of aluminum, which can limitplant growth. In order to overcome this, many new "versions" of plants are beingdeveloped, which have a much higher tolerance for aluminium. This is done byidentifying the gene that controls aluminium tolerance in, say, rye (a plant with a very high tolerance for this metal)and putting it in a type of circular bacterial DNA called a "plasmid". An enzyme, called a restriction enzyme,cuts the plasmid at a specific area where the rye gene can be inserted andthe circle completed. this new DNA(called recombinant DNA) is then put intothe plant, for example wheat, and it willgo on to replicate itself. A new form ofwheat can now be grown that is muchmore resistant to high levels of metals,such as aluminum. Pros, cons and ethics These new methods of modifying plants as to heighten their performancein unfavorable conditions has proved to be, in my opinion, a successful technological advancement. Not only can these modifications produce more resistant crops, but they can also help restore agriculture in poorercountries where a lot of the arable land is too harsh for regular plants.Also, biotechnological modifications in plants do not remove any of the nutrients or tastes, and can even increase them. If there are any ethicalimplications, they would be mainly to do with playing God. The question is:is it really our place to be modifying genes, which are the basis of all living things? In my opinion, if these modifications do not harm theenvironment and help human kind in the long run, then biotechnologicalchanges to crops are a positive advancement in today's ever-developingsociety. By Stephanie Crowe
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