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Pakistan Journal of Biological Sciences
Year: 2002  |  Volume: 5  |  Issue: 12  |  Page No.: 1363 - 1370

Food Security in the New Millennium-II. The Role of Agriculture Biotechnology

S. Farooq and F. Azam    

Abstract: Plant breeding in its primitive form is being practiced since the transition of human being from hunter/gatherers to settled agriculturist, approximately 10,000 thousand years ago. Without knowing genetics and its principal, it was used genetics to modify crops and their products. The selection of plants with best characteristics as source of next year seeds quickly resulted into domestication of crops that were distinct from their wild relative. Genetic modification (GM) has emerged against this historic background of breeding and selection and is thus, the extension of existing techniques and not something, which is unprecedented. In present paper, efforts have been made to review situation (s) that are responsible for the origin of genetically modified (transgenic) approaches to be used for crop improvement. The outcome of these approaches and the credibility of the resultant products along with their impact and significance on crop productivity in particular have also been reviewed. Impact of GM technology on the poor farmers in the developing countries with special reference to their needs and resources has been discussed in detail. The current status of genetically modified crops in the developed countries and also in the developing countries willing to adopt this technology albeit slowly has also been described along with their fears and concerns in order to provide the readers the choice to select this technology or otherwise according to their own needs and resources. The paper also provides information on the genetically modified products that can have significant impact in improving nutritional status of food generally consumed by millions of people living in the hart land of poverty that is South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa.

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