Presentation on theme: "What is Agricultural Biotechnology ? Unmodified DNA Gene of Interest Promoter Gene Marker Gene Transgenic organism."— Presentation transcript:
What is Agricultural Biotechnology ? Unmodified DNA Gene of Interest Promoter Gene Marker Gene Transgenic organism
What are the Goals of Biotech? Single-gene transfer Genesilencing Multi-gene transfer Modifying gene expression Yield Nutrition Pest protection Rx Drugs Hardier plants Industrial products
Biotechnology In The Marketplace n Industrial Products –Cheese –Wine –Pharmaceutical drugs n Agricultural Products –Papaya –Tomatoes –Potatoes –Cotton –Soybeans –Canola –Corn –Squash
Adoption of GM Crops n n Soybeans – more than 74 % n n Corn – about 32 % n n Cotton – more than 71 % n n Sweet corn – less than 5 % n n Potato – dropped due to poor sales n n Why are some popular, others not ?
So, why is biotechnology in agriculture so controversial ? Why are other types of biotechnology not as controversial ?
Biotechnology, Consumers, & the Environment n Some oppose biotech because they believe it poses an unacceptable environmental risk n Others believe that it may be the solution to some important environmental/agricultural problems
Production Issues in Agriculture n Over use of pesticides n Fertilizers leaching into water supplies n Soil erosion n Microbial contamination and food safety n Disposal of animal waste at large facilities n Poor nutrition and unhealthy foods n Crops not adapted for diverse environments
What are the Potential Environmental Risks ? Herbicide resistance Super weeds Gene escape Effect on non-targets Insect resistance & refugia ‘GMO pollution’ of organic production Biodiversity reduction Antibiotic marker genes
What are the Potential Environmental Benefits ? Insect and disease control Reduced pesticide usage Effects on non-targets Increased yields Crops for marginal lands Reduced animal waste Reduced soil erosion Less microbial contamination of foods
Risk Assessment Scientists rate nuclear power as fairly safe;Scientists rate nuclear power as fairly safe; lay people are horrified by it. lay people are horrified by it. Scientists think X-rays are moderately dangerous; Scientists think X-rays are moderately dangerous; lay people aren't so worried. lay people aren't so worried. Scientists rate swimming as rather hazardous; Scientists rate swimming as rather hazardous; lay people consider it rather harmless. lay people consider it rather harmless.
Risk Assessment Natural risks are less scary Nuclear energy vs. radon gas Risks imposed on us seem worse Nuclear energy vs. swimming Risks associated with complex technologies and catastrophes are greater Nuclear energy vs. car accidents Risks with an obvious benefit are less daunting
Classroom Activity: Can scientists ever prove that biotech crops are safe? n n Many people who object to biotech crops argue that the crops should not be allowed to grow in the environment until science proves that they are safe. Others who support biotech crops argue that science has proven that they are indeed safe. n n As the instructor, hold a rock three to four feet above the floor. Ask the students what will happen if you let go of the rock. Hopefully, they will say that the rock will drop to the floor! Then, ask the students to prove that the rock will fall to the floor before you let go. Adapted from Dr. Robert K. D. Peterson, Montana State University
Classroom Activity: What is a Hazard? n n Ask your students what substances or activities do not represent a hazard. n n A student or two may state that drinking water does not represent a hazard because water is not toxic. What about brushing your teeth? n n But hazard alone is not risk. Remember, risk is a function of both hazard and exposure. Adapted from Dr. Robert K. D. Peterson, Montana State University
Classroom Activity: Demonstration of Risk as a Function of Hazard and Exposure n n Fill a salt shaker with about 3 tablespoons of table salt and place the lid on it. Relate to the students that three tablespoons of salt when ingested is a sufficient dose to kill a child under about 40 pounds, and either kill an adult or make him/her very ill. n n Now ask the students what is the probability that they will be exposed to the salt as long as it remains in the shaker. Adapted from Dr. Robert K. D. Peterson, Montana State University
Classroom activity: Field trip to local Biotech firm n n Every state has firms that specialize in biotechnology – either for medical, pharmaceutical, industrial or agricultural applications. n n Research the industry first. Then do a site visit. n n Are there environmental risks ? How are they managed ?
Classroom Activity: How do we Manage Risks? n n Ask each student to list several natural and man- made risks. n n Then have each student identify several ways in which we manage those risks. n n Example: Solar radiation causing skin cancer. Managed by using sun block, wearing hats and other clothing, limiting time of exposure outdoors. n n Example: Injuries caused by car accidents. Managed by having drivers take tests to get licenses, wearing seat belts, installing airbags.