Imagine a day without our food supply- the world would be chaotic. Agricultural challenges have been one of the significant issues in this rapidly progressing world. It often slips our minds that farmers are dedicating their lives so that we can get our daily meals. With the increasing world population, they also face difficulties in maintaining our food production. Biotechnology boosts crop production, improves domestic animal health, and even contributes to aquaculture to keep our food cycle going. New techniques are being discovered for our food security. So stay with us as we will talk more in this article.
Ways Biotechnology Helped to Improve the Overall Agricultural Industry
The agricultural industry consists of the production of organic meat, greens, and fishery. Biotechnology is intertwined with our agricultural manufacturing, and here are some examples:
Greater Crop Cultivation
Traditional breeding methods have always been used in crop production, but it usually takes decades to get prominent finally. Using biotechnology, scientists can design plants with specific characteristics suitable for better growth in a particular soil. This is mainly done by DNA mutation, and by altering their genes, plants can grow to have some distinct features, such as greener leaves, brighter-coloured fruits, or even produce a newer plant species.
Again, creating better-quality seeds has helped farmers cultivate better crops. These crops are modified to resist drought as they require little water to produce food. Unlike traditional plants, they can also be engineered to produce a higher yield and nutritional value.
More Controlled Pests
Pesticides are essential for crop farming as they prevent insects from feeding on the crops. However, they often have adverse effects as pests are extremely difficult to be targeted. So, pesticides are usually sprayed on the plants, harming them. Hence, plants can combat these harmful chemicals by genetically modifying these crops. Some of these herbicides are also designed to be more organic and friendly to plants. Pests can also get used to pesticides if they’re used too frequently.
Hence, these medicines are also engineered so that insects can’t grow resistant to them. As a result, it saves farmers from the hassle of changing their pesticides continuously.
Improved Animal Husbandry
Similar to plant genetic modification, animals are also genetically edited to produce farm animals with desired features. However, this is often considered controversial as animals are said to have emotions just like humans. Even then, DNA mutation in animals is done to produce better-quality meat and skin. They also yield more milk and sometimes wool in animals like sheep.
Artificial insemination is also highly used to produce a more significant generation of offspring. It is naturally impossible for farm cattle to give birth frequently, and embryo transplantation has given farmers the solution to this problem. These offspring are supposed to provide us with more nutrition and animal products.
Cloning Rare Domestic Animals
We all have heard about Dolly the Sheep- the first cloned animal in history. Therefore, cloning is also not rare in animal agriculture. Even though it is controversial as well, it has its benefits. Animal cloning is mainly done to decrease diseases being transferred from one generation to the other. Hence, a healthier breed of animals is produced in the process.
This also benefits the preservation of endangered animals. For example, camels are considered endangered even though they belong to the livestock animals category. They are now being exported to many countries for their meat and milk. Therefore, using genetic engineering, these camels can be cloned to avoid going extinct soon.
Better Quality Fish
Applications of biotechnology are the most prominent in aquaculture. Fish can be easily engineered under suitable conditions for better production and reproduction. Similar to animals and plants, genetic editing is also done for aquatic animals to get good quality fish with high nutrition and outstanding fish production. Sometimes, hormonal manipulation is also done for more fertile fish, such as carp, for more controlled aquatic grazing.
Again, for places where the same sex of fish is available, biotechnology helps to create mono-sex fish by using specific hormones (testosterone for males) in newborn fish. Androgenesis in biotechnology allows male fish to give birth without any female fish. Hence, biotechnology not only helps to change fish genders but also causes birth from male fish.
Fish water often goes stale, so for fish to be grazed in the proper environment, biotechnology helps regulate ponds or other places where fish farming is done. Probiotics in aquaculture are used for better growth and reproduction in fish, such as shrimps. New fish food is invented regularly to improve fish health and the production of good quality fish.
By using digestive enzymes, contained fish water is cleaned. Fish agriculture is also used to control diseases spreading in fish tanks. Antibiotics are mainly used to eliminate genetically transferred infections from spreading. Hence, thanks to biotechnology, fish can now live for a more extended period.
If you’ve tagged along, you must agree that biotechnology has undeniably improved our agricultural industry in numerous ways. Hence, this gift of technology should be more appreciated as it is undoubtedly revolutionary in the lives of humans. To sum it up, when it comes to agriculture, biotechnology is interweaved with human life. From giving us nutritious food to flavourful meat and tasty fish- it can’t be denied that has taken a vow to improve our agriculture system.
Therefore, whether you are a vegetarian, pescatarian, or in general, a food lover, biotechnology has helped you meet your cravings, be it daytime or midnight. Without biotechnology, it would’ve been difficult for humans to improve their health and lifestyle. Hence, this field of modern technology should be funded more to make agriculture and, at the same time, the lives of human beings easier.