Understanding the science of biotechnology and genetic engineering

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Understanding the science of biotechnology and genetic engineering

Andrew Bowles January 29, Maragogype coffee plant in the field. Photo by Juli Burden. Click here for more information on Roast. Coffea arabica is a fastidious shrub. With the exacting terroir, heritage and willing producer to invest the time and energy into cultivating this delicate commodity, it will produce generous rewards.

This shrub is grown in conditions that mimic its endemic origin of Ethiopia. Presently, coffee is grown in a region within 25 degrees latitude north to 30 degrees latitude south of the equator, colloquially referred to as the coffee belt.

Within this belt, approximately 25 million people are involved in the production of coffee, all of whom are vulnerable to the consequences of climate change. Climate change is upsetting the fragile conditions in which coffee currently exists and the primary source of income for those involved in its cultivation.

Trying to find a coffee producer who has not felt the impact of climate change is difficult.

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He believes climate change is responsible for this seasonal volatility, which has reduced green coffee yields. Today, his farm yields only about kilograms of green coffee per hectare.

Understanding the science of biotechnology and genetic engineering

Studies suggest that byclimate change will impact more than half the land currently used for coffee cultivation, creating conditions unsuitable for production. While climate change is difficult to predict, the scientific community agrees the future outlook for coffee production is dire unless immediate action is taken.

The response to climate change must include aggressive solutions. New coffee cultivars are required to adapt to the impact of climate change.

Conventional breeding programs can take more than 30 years to produce a commercially available cultivar. Looking through the lens of climate change, this time frame is unacceptable. Similarly, transgenic engineering — incorporating foreign DNA into the genome of an organism — as it exists today is time intensive and requires significant financial investment.

Understanding the science of biotechnology and genetic engineering

Although there is widespread consumer opposition to genetically modified foods and beverages, the scientific community does not share that opposition. And in light of the dire outlook for the future of coffee cultivation in the coming decades, it seems clear we must understand and embrace research that includes genetic engineering as a potential tool in the fight to save coffee.

Natural and Artificial Mutations Genetic mutation within DNA is the result of naturally occurring processes within an organism and interactions with its environment.

Mutations can arise during normal cellular events, such as when a cell divides. Cell division is a complex and highly orchestrated process called mitosis, with the result of creating two cells with identical genomes.

Proteins work in complex arrangements and groups to accurately replicate DNA destined for the divided cells.

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It is possible to introduce mutations during these normal cellular processes. The environment can be an additional source of genetic mutation.Biotechnology, genetic engineering, and recombinant (r) deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) genetic modification methods are techniques that can be very useful in pursuing important improvements in food production and the food supply (e.g., enhancing the nutritional content of specific foods).

From foundational science to new and novel research, discover our large collection of Physical Sciences and Engineering publications, covering a range of disciplines, from the theoretical to the applied. When combining two crops using standard agricultural techniques, genes are allowed to mix at random.

A typical example is Triticale, a synthetic hybrid between wheat and rye grown in Europe, which is the result of combining 50, largely untested genes, 25, from each species. 10 GM crops, in contrast, have specific genes inserted to produce the same desired effect. Search using a saved search preference or by selecting one or more content areas and grade levels to view standards, related Eligible Content, assessments, and materials and resources.

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Relatedly, biomedical engineering is an overlapping field that often draws upon and applies biotechnology (by various definitions), especially in certain sub-fields of biomedical or chemical engineering such as tissue engineering, biopharmaceutical engineering, and genetic engineering.

ABIOTIC STRESS - The stress caused to plants due to herbicides, water deficiency, ozone, intense light etc..


ACTIVE SITE - The site on the enzyme at which the substrate binds. ADHERENT CELLS - The cells which grow adhering to cell culture vessel and are adherent dependent are called adherent cells AEROBE - A microorganism dependent on oxygen for it’s growth.

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