Plant Breeding Propagation and Biotechnology
Domestication of plants and animals was the first attribute of agriculture. Food storage then followed domestication. The classical food fermentation is the earliest form of biotechnology. This traditional agriculture now succumbs to very serious challenges. The world is increasingly becoming a village market. The interrelationship between different nations economically is affecting the future development in agriculture. On the other hand, global climatic conditions resulting from urbanization and industrialization are adversely affecting traditionalagriculture. There is a significant reduction in amount of water supply and in the sizes of farming land. with all these changes and the fact that expanding world population tightening the demand of the traditional raw materials from plant either for their industries or as food , only two major solutions seem to exist for increasing agricultural supply: search for alternative food sources or enhance technological advances that would see high yielding crops emerge. Because of the increasing demand, there has been continuous adventure to meet the fooddemand through plantbiotechnology(Aerie, 1999).
Plant biotechnology refers to the use of a set of techniques that used to manipulate the plant genetic composition to adapt the plant for specific needs or opportunities.It refers to a collaborative terminology that covers the variety of techniques implied to transfer beneficial factors from one plant to another. Plantbiotechnology has led to development of new plants thathave assisted farmers to control weeds, insects, and diseases, increaseyields and give famers opportunity to administer environmentalfriendly farmingpractices(Broothaerts et al., 2005).The contemporary plant biotechnology encompasses the use of DNA cells as an aid to classical breeding. This combines the ongoing genome mappingprojects. The combinedtechniques ensure that the classical breeding and selection cycle is shorter. On the other hand, plant biotechnology uses the genetic engineering techniques thatresult in impressive development of plants with favorable genetic compositions.Plant biotechnology includes plant propagation, plant breeding and cloning.
Plant propagation, on the other hand, refers to the process of creating new plants. Propagation of plants can be either sexually or asexually. Sexual propagation occurs when there is a union of the pollen and the egg. Asexual propagation, on the other hand, involves taking part of a parent plant and forcing it to regenerate itself into another plant. The resulting plant is usually genetically identical to its parent (University of Maine, n.d). Sexual propagation on the advantageous side is considerably cheap, quick, and is helpful in preventing transmission of particular diseases, a sexual propagation on the other hand may be faster and easier in some plant species and is helpful n retaining the desired species.
Plant breeding is a famous practice tracing from the human civilization. Plant breeding refers to the goal-oriented manipulation of a plants species in order to create a desired plant type for particular reasons and purposes. Plant breeding isacommon practice in the contemporary world aimed at developing new crops for foodsecurity. Developingnew crops and plants that can effectively survive in the changing environmental conditions is the first step to ensuring human beings can practically provide his daily meals (Wink, 1988).
Indigenous plants on the other hand have been threatened to distinct due to the expanding environmental changes leading to weather conditions that cannotsustain the growth and development of indigenous crops. The expanding population has led to high level of droughts and fall in rainfall levels thus threatening many indigenous crops. On the other hand, most of the indigenous crops could take generally longer time to mature and thus cannot cater for thedemands of theincreasing populations.The scientific knowledge of plant breeding is a counter solution to create viable kinds of plant that have very short maturity span and can survive adverse weather conditions and diseases to provide food for humankind(Aerie, 1999).
Asagriculture faces increasing pressure to provide enough food supply for the rapidly expanding population andincrease the nutritional qualities of the food, there has to be a change in the productivity. Theemergence of DNA sequencing and bioinformatics and statistical analyses is a major step in shorteningthe duration it requires to domesticatecrops from semi – wild crops and to boost existing crops to meet the requirements such as nutritional enhancement or climate change
Varioustechnological concepts andmethodologiesapply in plant breeding. Prior to the breeding process, it is important to define the major objective of the breeding process based on environmental factors, needs of the consumersand the impact the breed is likely to put in the environment. Plant breeding aims at making the producer’s jobs easy. In this, a plant can with stand pasts can be developed to reduce the load of usingpesticides (Aerie, 1999).
When thinking of consumers on the other hand, the breeding focuses on the nutrition value of the plant. The breeder can also develop a crop with shorter maturity spanto ensure continuous supply in the market for the consumers.
The logicsfor breedingplant is to respond to the needs of the society.plants are essential parts of human; they provide food, shelter, andmedicine. Food is the most basic need in human life. Plants are the primary produces in the ecosystem. Plant breeding I needed to enhance the values of food by yielding nutritiousfoods for healthy human living. Some plants are low in certain nutrient to the extent that those who use such plant as stable e food run the risk of suffering from malnutrition .in such situations it is plant-breeding helps in boosting the nutritious value of the plants.
Secondly, plant breeding is essential in addressing the growing food demand for the expanding world population .the expanding world population requires an expansion in the worlds food supply. As the population increases, there is an urge to develop an agricultural system that grows as per with the population. However, viable land for agriculture is in decrease due to the expanding urbanization. More food, therefore, has to be produced in a small piece of land. This calls for production of high yielding crops that can provide for the demand. With the plant breeding technologies, the yields of major plants have dramatically increased (Wink, 1988).
The increasing global changes have offered a significant threat to many indigenous crops. There is an urgent need therefore to adapt plants go environmental stress. Most of the regions are getting drier and drier. Despite the fact that developed countries is capable to encounter the challenges of unseasonable weather through supplementing their production environment, poor nations remain embarrassed and affected even by smaller occurrences of weather changes and seasons unpredictability. Plant breeding technology therefore allows for development of plants that can adapt to biotic and a biotic environmental stress.
On the other hand, plant breeding allows for development of new plant varieties. The development of horticultural production is dependent on the emergence of new varieties through plant breeding. New plant with different floral abilities and characteristics develop that make the entire horticultural fled interesting(Wink, 1988).
Plant breeding adapts plants to specific modes of production. Breeders produce plant for different production systems. For example, certain crops are produced to be grown under irrigation. Lastly, theoperation of industries is dependent on raw materials. Plants on the other hand are the basic raw material for many industries. Despite the diminishing land for cultivating for expanding industrialization, there has to be raw materials for the industries to operate. Through plant breeding, it is very possible to meet the industrial demand for the raw material supply.
The achievements of modern plant technology including plant breeding and plant propagation arerecommendable. The technology has helped in increasing the yields. Making plants resistant to diseases and insects has increased the production. On the other hand, the technologies have increased crops adaptation. Plants can effectively grow in areas where they are not native because breeders have developed plant that have modified physiology to cope with the variations. However, according to Green Facts (2014) conventional breeding is responsible for afew cases of negative effects on human health. Similarly, there is a potential effect of conventionally bred plants on the environment.
Aerie, A. (1999)Plant Biotechnology in the 21st Century: The Challenges Ahead Electronic.Journal of Biotechnology, 2(2)
Broothaerts, W. et al. (2005). Gene transfer to plants by diverse species of bacteria. Nature, 433(7026), 629. Retrieved on 20th November 2014 fromhttp://www.cambia.org/daisy/cambia/1191/version/2/part/4/data/Gene%20transfer%20to%20Plants%20by%20Diverse%20Species%20of%20Bacteria.pdf?branch=main&language=default
Green Facts. (2014). Genetically Modified Crops. Retrieved on 20th November 2014 from:http://www.greenfacts.org/en/gmo/2-genetically-modified-crops/1-agricultural-biotechnology.htm
University of Maine (n.d.). Plant Propagation. Retrieved on 20th November 2014 from: http://umaine.edu/gardening/master-gardeners/manual/propagation/plant-propagation/
Wink, M. (1988). Plant breeding importance of plant secondary metabolites for protection against pathogens and herbivores. Theoretical and Applied Genetics , 75: 225–233. doi: 10.1007/BF00303957