Biotechnology: Its application in agriculture

· Introduction:

Persuade public to become aware of the changes
Persuade audience to think about where they stand on this very important issue and take action according to your decision.
Labeling and careful regulation of genetically manufactured foods

v Persuade the American Public to think about the following changes that are being made in Agriculture as a society wish should discuss the issue.

v Control genetic technology, Persuade public to ask their Government to control the public use of biotechnology, while trying to improve on tried and true farming techniques.

v Labeling of produce that has been genetically modified a
There should be a choice available to the public.

· What is Biotechnology?

The simplest way to view this is to brake-up the words into two parts

Bio - Technology

Biotechnology, the manipulation of biological organisms to make products that benefit human beings. Biotechnology contributes to such diverse areas as food production, waste disposal, mining, and medicine.

· The Method

· How is it applied in Agriculture/food crops

Potato Chicken Increased disease resistance
Giant silk moth Increased disease resistance
Greater waxmoth Reduced bruising damage
Virus Increased disease resistance
Bacteria Increased herbicide tolerance
Corn Wheat Reduced insect damage
Firefly Introduction of marker genes
Bacteria Increased herbicide tolerance
Tomato Flounder Reduced freezing damage
Virus Increased disease resistance
Bacteria Reduced insect damage
Soybean Petunia Increased herbicide tolerance
Rice Bean, pea Introduction of new storage proteins
Bacteria Reduced insect damage
Cantaloupe,Cucumber,Squash Virus Increased disease resistance
Sunflower Brazil nut Introduction of new storage proteins
Walnut Bacteria Reduced insect damage
Apple Bacteria Reduced insect damage
Catfish Trout Faster growth

*Information compiled from applications to federal agencies to field test engineered organisms.
Source: The Gene Exchange 2 (4), December 1991

Spiced Potatoes with Waxmoth genes
Juice of Tomatoes with Flounder genes
Blackened Catfish with Trout gene
Scalloped Potatoes with Chicken gene
Cornbread with Firefly gene
Rice Pudding with Pea gene
Milk from Bovine Growth Hormone (BGH)
Supplemented Cows

* This menu is from the "The Gene Exchange", a publication of the National Wildlife Federation. Federal permits for environmental release are pending or have been granted for all of the transgenic plants and animals included on the menu.

Which companies are buying GM foods from farmers?
What products do these companies make?

· Reported

Bt Corn, Potato

1. Monarch Butterfly

2. Bt resistance genes found in the wild populations of moth

Scientists at the University of North Carolina in the U.S. have already found Bt resistance genes in wild populations of a moth pest that feeds on corn (Gould et. al, 1997). The resistance concerns are serious enough that, just last month, a coalition of the US\' major producers of genetically engineered corn seed, under pressure from federal regulators, environmentalists and the weight of scientific studies, said they would require farmers to grow sizable plots of non-engineered corn in an effort to stave off resistance (Weiss, 1999).

Gould, F., Anderson, A., Jones, A., Sumerford, D., Heckel, D.G., Lopez, J., Micinski, S., Leonard, R. and M. Laster. 1997. Initial frequency of alleles for resistance to Bacillus thuringiensis toxins in field populations of Heliothis virescens. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA, 94: 3519-3523.

Weiss, R. 1999. Corn seed producers move to avert pesticide resistance. The Washington Post, January 9, page A04.

3. Reduced the population of non-targeted insects , greenlacewigs

Researchers from Swiss Federal Research Station for Agroecology and Agriculture, for example, found over 60% mortality among green lacewings larvae (a major predator of corn pests) that ate moth larvae that had fed on Bt corn (Hilbeck et al., 1998).

Hilbeck, A., Baumgartner, M., Fried, P.M. and F. Bigler. 1998. Effects of transgenic Bacillus thuringiensis corn-fed prey on mortality and development time of immature Chysoperla carnea (Neuroptera: Chrysopidae). Environmental Entomology, 27(2): 480-487.

Furthermore, the increased lacewing mortality was seen regardless of whether it ate sick prey (i.e. poisoned by eating Bt) or healthy (i.e. resistant to Bt) prey. Bt-resistant insects could feed on Bt corn, fly off to other plants, and be eaten by lacewing which would then die. The resulting ecological effects could extend well beyond the borders of the area planted to transgenic crops.

Other studies have shown that the Bt toxin can persist in soils for over forty days (the longest time evaluated) and can retain its toxicity to insects (Koskella and Stotzky, 1997).

Koskella, J. and G. Stotzky. 1997. Microbial utilization of free and clay-bound insecticidal toxins from Bacillus thuringiensis and their retention of insectidical activity after incubation with microbes. Applied and