Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/1/2002
Publication Date: 12/15/2002
Citation: Jauhar, P.P. 2002. Importance of biotechnology in global food security. (book chapter) in: food security and environment quality: a global perspective. CRC Press. Book Chapter p. 107-128. Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: Genetic improvement of crops has been traditionally achieved through sexual hybridization with landraces and closely related species that form the primary gene pool with a particular crop species. These conventional techniques have resulted in numerous crop cultivars with high yields and other superior agronomic traits. Although lengthy and often tedious, traditional plant breeding, sometimes combined with classical cytogenetic techniques, continues to be the main means of food crop improvement. Failure to obtain sexual hybrids because of crossability barriers between species poses a limitation in conventional breeding. The introduction of direct methods of gene transfer through modern biotechnology has helped in overcoming crossing barriers and genes from unrelated species and numerous other sources have become accessible for asexual transfer into crop plants. These transgenic techniques have been successfully employed to produce herbicide-, disease-, and pest-resistant crop plants, resulting in higher yields and economic gains to farmers. The use of transgenic approaches to combat malnutrition among the poor masses is another exciting development. Thus, the development of golden rice, genetically enriched with vitamin A and iron, may constitute one of the most important success stories of all time. The superior traits of golden rice may be transferred to other well-adapted rice cultivars through conventional breeding. We strongly feel that modern biotechnology will help augment crop yields and help sustain the global food supply.