week-09-Plant-GE-Feeding-the-world - October 22, 2007 BIOL...

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Week 9 - Page 1 of 5 October 22, 2007 BIOL 101 - Fall 2007 -Week 9 - Plant genetic engineering: Feeding the world Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) - What they are and Why they are needed? According to the United Nations (UN), the 2007 world population is around 6.6 billion. By the end of 2050, the world population is projected to hit 9.2 billion, with most of the population increase being in less developed regions such as Africa, Asia (except Japan), Latin America, the Caribbean, Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia. Population growth in more developed regions, such as Japan, Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand is relatively slow (http://esa.un.org/unpp). Food security UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) definition of food security: Food security exists when all people, at all times, have access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life. Major issues surrounding food security in the world: (1) Unequal rate of population growth between different regions around the world. (2) Unequal food production and distribution between different countries/ different regions within a country. (3) Climates, pests and diseases contribute to the quantity and quality of food production. (4) Economic situation and political stability of different countries affect overall food distribution around the world. Three approaches to improve crops production (1) Traditional breeding : This involves crosses between closely related crop species with desirable traits in an attempt to screen for a plant exhibiting “hybrid vigor”; i.e., one that has better overall traits than its parents. Such traits include yield or tolerance to unfavorable environmental conditions. (2) Mutation breeding : This involves the use of physical (X-ray irradiation) or chemical mutagens (e.g. EMS - ethyl methane sulfonate) to create mutant crop plants that show desirable traits. Mutation breeding has been practiced for more than 70 years. (3) Genetic Engineering : This involves the use of recombinant DNA technology to transfer a gene of interest from one organism to another. The gene of interest usually encodes a protein that confers a desirable trait, such as insect/ herbicide resistance, to the target organism (e.g. crop). Norman E. Borlaug - Father of the Green Revolution University. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Price in 1970 for his contributions to the development of dwarf wheat varieties that resist a wide spectrum of plant pests and diseases and produce two to three times more grain than the traditional varieties. As a result of Borlaug’s and his colleagues’ work, in Pakistan, wheat yields rose from 4.6 million tons in 1965 to 8.4 million in 1970. In India, they rose from 12.3 million tons in 1965 to 20 million in 1970 and up to 73.5 million tons in 1999 (http://www.reason.com/0004/fe.rb.billions.html).
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This note was uploaded on 03/25/2008 for the course BIOL 101 taught by Professor Hall during the Fall '07 term at Texas A&M.

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week-09-Plant-GE-Feeding-the-world - October 22, 2007 BIOL...

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