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use of biotechnology in agriculture benefits and risks

3 BIO-3 Use of Biotechnology in Agriculture—Benefits and Risks CTAHR — May 2003 certain pests, not just the part of the plant to which Bt insecticide has been applied. Modern biotechnology represents unique applications of science that can be used for the betterment of society through development of crops with improved nutritional quality, resistance to pests and diseases, and reduced cost of production. Many other terms are in popular use to describe these publication, controversy affects various issues related 1999. This system should be closely associated with existing regulatory arrangements for new pharmaceuticals, foods, and agricultural and veterinary products. For plants known as dicots (broad-leaved plants such as soybean, tomato, and cotton), transformation is usually brought about by use of a bacterium, Agro-bacterium tumefaciens. Although familiarity cannot be equated with safety, it has provided the basis for applying existing management practices to new products, and is premised upon case-by-case and step-by-step risk assessment and management of new products. Governments and other responsible parties should effectively communicate with the public about the nature of new crop types and new crop varieties, about the unity of life processes in all organisms, and about the risks and benefits of agricultural biotechnology in their own country and internationally. Similarly, The issues of major concern in relation to the future applications of biotechnology to crop improvement include the evaluation of any risks to human health and the environment; the need for mandatory and/or voluntary labeling of GM foods and/or agricultural commodities for international trade; the relationship between countries' responsibilities under the WTO; and international environmental treaties. Learn more. The centerpiece of the draft protocol is an advance informed agreement (AIA) procedure to be followed prior to the transboundary transfer of GMOs (called living modified organisms or "LMOs" in the protocol). There is also a view by some regulatory authorities for regulatory requirements relating to GMOs to be based on a more precautionary approach. nology-enhanced foods,” others call them This would enhance the diets of the 180 million children who suffer from the vitamin A deficiency that leads to 2 million deaths annually. 2003. These principles and practices have been summarized in a series of OECD reports published over the past decade or more. Persley, G.J. In traditional breeding, crosses are made in a relatively Current genetic engineering techniques allow seg- Such active plant breeding has led to the development of superior plant varieties far more rapidly than would have occurred in the wild due to random mating. Crop/input trait combinations presently being field-tested in emerging economies include virus-resistant melon, papaya, potato, squash, tomato, and sweet pepper; insect resistant rice, soybean, and tomato; disease-resistant potato; and delayed-ripening chili pepper. Labeling also may be needed in some countries to identify other novel content resulting from genetic modification for cultural and religious reasons or simply because the consumers want to know what is the content of the food and how it was produced to make an informed choice, independent of any health risks. mines the desirable trait is identified, it can be selected and transferred. Given that the acreage of such saline lands is estimated to be equal to 20 to 25% of the land currently under cultivation world wide, this would be a significant contribution toward global food security. Countries also disagree about whether socioeconomic effects of LMOs, liability and compensation, and pharmaceutical products should be included in the protocol, although these topics fall outside the scope of the protocol, as set by the Conference of the Parties to the CBD in Jakarta in 1994 (Decision 2/5). This markedly expands the range of useful traits that ultimately can be applied to the development of new crop varieties. Phone: (515) 292-2125, fax: (515) 292-4512. Why Are Agricultural Biotechnology Products Being Developed? 11 pp. These LMOs, called "commodities," would include GM crops such as soya or corn, which form a growing component of the international agricultural commodity trade in these crops. The management of these risks requires policies and practices that give consumers choices while also promoting environmentally sustainable development through the judicious use of new developments in science and technology. Where such releases have been approved, the monitoring of the behavior of GMOs after their release is a rich field for future research in crop ecology.

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