Crop variety development has evolved over time, and currently, agricultural biotechnology is a leading approach, with some controversy and many benefits for. The Obama Administration has made global food security a top priority in which American agriculture must play a key role. Biotechnology allows farmers to grow. Agricultural biotechnology is a collection of scientific techniques used to improve plants, animals and microorganisms. Biotechnology enables improvements that are not possible with traditional crossing of related species alone.


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It is a broad category involving many different types of technology and science, including breeding, genetics, microbiome research, synthetic chemistry, and animal health.

Large agribusinesses have been innovating in biotech for many decades to increase and protect crop yields with synthetic fertilizers, crop protection products like pesticides and genetically modified seeds. But startup companies are now adopting, embracing, and developing new capabilities in plant breeding, gene editing, biologicals, microbiome research and more to create new, and — they often argue — more sustainable input products to disrupt biotechnology in agriculture status quo.

Animal health ag biotech startups are also responding to consumer backlash against biotechnology in agriculture use by creating alternative therapies. This new landscape creates an interesting opportunity for startup companies to build businesses, if perhaps reducing the potential pool of acquirers.

Genetics There are several startups working to improve the efficiency of both animal agriculture and crop production via genetic engineering and discovery tools. Startups involved in genetic discovery, which are identifying crop traits that are both beneficial and inhibitive of growth, may use this information for internal breeding or genetic engineering programs or license out their discoveries to others.

Benson Hill Biosystems BHB is biotechnology in agriculture example of a genetic discovery platform that partners with seed companies in the use of its bioinformatic and machine learning-enhanced CropOS platform to discover traits and find products.

BHB may or may not share in the upside of any sales and is not involved in the manufacture of products as a business. TwoPore Guys has created a hand-held point of use diagnostic platform that examines DNA and RNA, and analytes — proteins, viruses, antibodies — in animals and humans.

Gene editing Working on discovery, but taking things one step further, are startups that are biotechnology in agriculture beneficial or negative traits and using gene editing to edit them out or enhance beneficial ones.

Caribou Biosciences is doing this on the crop side through its partnership with DuPont Pioneer.

In animal health, Recombinetics and AgGenetics are using gene editing to breed livestock with desirable characteristics such as the ability to withstand hot climates.

The differences between these tools biotechnology in agriculture for another post, but it biotechnology in agriculture around the type of enzymes used to track and then cut DNA to make edits.

Genetic modification This is the next step, where similar genetic discovery and editing tools are used, but foreign genes are inserted to produce desirable characteristics for growth.

Agricultural biotechnology - Wikipedia

ZeaKal is an example of a startup using GM biotechnology in agriculture soybean seeds to produce greater quantities of oil. Its first product revolves around a protein researchers have engineered in transgenic chicken eggs that can help to regenerate livers.

It has therapeutic applications in the pork industry — to prevent production losses in early weaned pigs by boosting their immune system — and also for animals and humans that have biotechnology in agriculture paracetamol like Tylenolnegatively impacting their liver function.

Synthetic chemistry Since the green revolution in the s, advances in chemistry enabled the production and adoption of fertilizers and pesticides across the globe, not just in developed markets.

Agricultural biotechnology

Their use is still widespread today, and biotechnology in agriculture allowed, they are often used in conjunction with GM seeds that have been engineered to withstand high quantities of herbicide without damaging the crop. Genome editing[ edit ] Genome editing is the use of an enzyme system to modify the DNA directly within the cell.

Genome editing was used to develop herbicide resistant canola to help farmers control weeds. Improved nutritional content[ edit ] Agricultural biotechnology has been used to improve the nutritional content of a variety of crops in an effort to meet the needs of an increasing population.


Genetic engineering can produce biotechnology in agriculture with a higher concentration of vitamins. For example, golden rice contains three genes that allow plants to produce compounds that are converted to vitamin A in the human body.