Maize is a staple in many developing countries

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•Maize is a staple in many developing countries. oHowever, because most varieties are a relatively poor source of protein, a diet of maize must be supplemented with other protein sources such as beans. •Forty years ago, a mutant maize known as opaque-2 was discovered with increased levels of tryptophan and lysine, two essential amino acids. •This maize is more nutritious, and swine fed with opaque-2 maize gain weight three times faster than those fed with normal maize. oHowever, the beneficial trait was closely associated with several undesirable ones. oIt took nearly 20 years for plant breeders, using conventional breeding methods of hybridization and artificial selection, to create maize varieties that had higher nutritional value without the undesirable traits. •If modern methods of genetic engineering had been available, the desirable varieties could have been developed in only a few years. •Unlike traditional plant breeders, modern plant biotechnologists, using the techniques of genetic engineering, are not limited to transferring genes between closely related species or varieties of the same species. oGenes can be transferred between distantly related plant species to create transgenic plants.
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6 International University, Vietnam National University - HCMC Plant Physiology •Whatever the social and demographic causes of human starvation around the world, increasing food production seems like a humane objective. •Because land and water are the most limiting resources for food production, the best option is to increase yields on available land. •Based on conservative estimates of population growth, the world’s farmers will have to produce 40% more grain per hectare to feed the human population in 2020. Plant biotechnology can help make these plant yields possible. How do you know if a seed is genetically modified? Or more specific if it’s GMO? The good news is that GMO seeds are widely available to the commercial agriculture industry, but the push to sell them to home gardeners is not yet popular (and most likely not lucrative). The bad news is that farmers growing non-GMO crops for seed are having a harder time isolating themselves from farms that use GMO seed, and GMO contamination via pollination drift is becoming more common. So what can we do? The best line of defense is to make sure the seed companies that you buy from take the Safe Seed Pledge. The Safe Seed Pledge states that the seed company does not knowingly or willingly buy or produce genetically modified seed. Many companies go further to say that they do not believe that GM technology has been tested well enough and feel that GMOs are unsafe until they have been. Do GMO crops need bees to grow? Some do and some don’t.
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