Plant breeding is quite an old process used in agriculture, and scientists and farmers alike have been using plant breeding methods in creating plants with unique and beneficial qualities, for example, the ability to tolerate drought.
Scientists started utilizing biotechnology, which is a genetic manipulation that transfers beneficial genes into plants. This opens new opportunities and allows for greater efficiency to improve crops. This includes genetic modification produces GMO (genetically modified organisms) and GM seed (genetically modified seed).
With the increase in the production of GM crops, a GMO test helps establish the nature and safety of a product and guarantees its compliance with labeling and import guidelines for GM food and feed.
The Development of Genetically Modified Seeds
Plant scientists distinguish genes that have the characteristic to improve a crop. They make a copy of the potentially beneficial gene and add it into the DNA of a plant.
This GMO testing usually takes years to complete to make sure that the GM seed is as safe and beneficial to farmers as its unprocessed counterpart.
Over five countries grow, field-test, and import GMOs. The GMO regulations are different from one country to another. The popular varieties of GMOs available across the globe include:
- Corn (Maize)
- Sugar Beets
What Are the Advantages of Growing Genetically Modified Crops?
- It helps conserve natural habitats: Farmers benefit from GM seeds by meeting the rising demand to produce enough crops and use their arable lands most efficiently. This also results in the preservation of nearby plants.
- Makes the most of natural resources: Genetically modified organisms promote the no-till farming technique that helps keep the nutrients and moisture in the soil. This technique also helps in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and fuel demands. In other instances, GM corn crops aid the harvests in areas that are affected by drought and with limited water resources.
- Helps combat pests and diseases: There are crops that have been genetically modified to resist plant-specific diseases and pests that can leave a field in ruins. Modified plants that are able to protect their roots from pest damage utilize water efficiently compared to plants with damaged roots.
- Provides farmers with more options: Every growing environment of crops is unique and presents different challenges and concerns for farmers. When farmers use GMOs in combination with other agricultural methods, the result is another means to preserve natural resources and address certain challenges.
- Can cut down the use of pesticides: GMO crops enable farmers to use fewer pesticides on their arable lands, which means less toxic on the fields. The reason is that the crops are modified to enable the targeted use of pesticides and herbicides, resulting in greater pest resistance. Genetically modified plants can also fight off encroaching weeds much better.
- GMOs can help humans adapt to population growth and climate change: The ever-changing global conditions have put intense pressure on the farming industry to satisfy a large population. Many croplands experience extreme levels of drought. Other areas experience invasive pests and plant diseases that affect food production severely.
Biotechnology, in the form of GMO, helps people grow crop varieties that are more resilient and thrive well in changing conditions. There are many GMOs today that aid people meet various challenges, together with the use of modern agricultural techniques and new biologicals.
- Food products that contain GM ingredients are safe: Multiple scientific studies revealed that there is no evidence showing that GMOs cause negative effects in both livestock and humans.
A study of more than 29 years of productivity and health statistics of livestock arrived at the conclusion that genetically modified feed is nutritious and safe as non-GM in every way.
Before they are available on the market, GMOs undergo some testing for allergen potential and safety. In many countries, GM food products are tested more rigorously than conventional plant breeds.
The process can take up to 10 years, including assessments of potential risks to humans, livestock, wildlife, and the environment.
Part of the GMO test includes protein characterization and analysis as well as nutritional analysis. During these analyses, researchers and scientists examine the peptides and proteins that have manifested in the genetically modified organism using bioengineering techniques and make a comparison to the original.
This helps the experts to distinguish new proteins that the GM crop has exhibited. With that, they determine if those proteins could bring about an adverse effect, for example, trigger an allergic reaction.
The GMO testing market has been growing rapidly over the past few years. This is because it addresses many factors such as the evolution in agriculture technology, mandatory labeling in many countries, huge investments in biotechnology, diverse production of GM processed foods, and the need to guarantee safe and ample nutrition.