Recombinant DNA technology has significantly augmented the conventional crop improvement, and has a great promise to assist plant breeders to meet the increased food demand predicted for the 21st century. Dramatic progress has been made over the past two decades in manipulating genes from diverse and exotic sources, and inserting them into microorganisms and crop plants to confer resistance to insect pests and diseases, tolerance to herbicides, drought, soil salinity and aluminum toxicity; improved post-harvest quality; enhanced nutrient uptake and nutritional quality; increased photosynthetic rate, sugar, and starch production; increased effectiveness of biocontrol agents; improved understanding of gene action and metabolic pathways; and production of drugs and vaccines in crop plants. Despite the diverse and widespread beneficial applications of biotechnology products, there remains a critical need to present these benefits to the general public in a real and understandable way that stimulates an unbiased and responsible public debate. The development, testing and release of agricultural products generated through biotechnology-based processes should be continuously optimized based on the most recent experiences. This will require a dynamic and streamlined regulatory structure, clearly supportive of the benefits of biotechnology, but highly sensitive to the well being of humans and environment.
Sharma, H.C.; Crouch, J.H.; Sharma, K.K.; Seetharama, N.; Hash, C.T. Applications of biotechnology for crop improvement: prospects and constraints. Plant Science (2002) 163 (3) 381-395. [DOI: 10.1016/S0168-9452(02)00133-4]