For about 10,000 years, or ever since the beginning of agriculture, farmers have been selecting the best looking plants and seeds and saved them to plant for the next year. Through the selection and breeding of desirable characteristics they were in fact improving wild plants. Over time, pest and disease resistance, faster growth, larger seeds, higher yields, or sweeter fruits have really changed domesticated plant species compared to their wild relatives. Biological sciences graduate, Alex Oppenheim Omaha explains that the science of plant breeding was further developed in the last century, when plant breeders understood better how to select superior plants and breed them to create improved varieties of different crops. The productivity and quality of the plants we grow for food has drastically increased since then.
As breeding became more sophisticated, the traits selected by the breeders were included to increase yield, disease and pest resistance, drought resistance and enhance flavor. The agricultural industry has been at the center of debate for some time now, with the controversies surrounding the use of GMOs. But as Oppenheim says, scientists have been working hard and producing countless new products that have the potential to change our lives for the better. Agricultural biotechnology is a term used in crop improvement through biotechnology tools. With the increasing population and the decline in agricultural resources such as land and water, it became clear that conventional plant breeding can no longer sustain the global demand. That’s when Alex Oppenheim Omaha and other field exert started developing and utilizing new crop improvement technologies.
Having a safe and sufficient food supply, grown in an environmentally responsible fashion is essential for human kind. Agricultural biotechnology, just like any other technology, has caused both economic and social impacts. However, agricultural biotechnology is not the only factor that has influenced the health and welfare of farmers and citizens in the developing world. Finally, Alex Oppenheim Omaha stresses that open public discourse is essential for defining the role of biotechnology in society, as it continues to evolve. For the development of foods with improved nutritional value, researchers are now mainly using biotechnology.