What is Genetic Modification or Genetic Engineering in Agriculture

When we hear the words Genetic Modification or Genetic Engineering, it sounds like very advanced technology. But humans have been using genetic modification for more than a thousand years. For example, farmers used cross breeding methods to get different sizes and colors of corn, Tomatoes, Roses, potato, soybean, canola and many more. In other words, this is also called Hybridizing/Classical breeding. This method takes a very long time to get the desired output,Sometimes more than 10 years.

But with the development in technology, scientists can change the DNA of a plant to make changes to the crop. This results in more yield in less time and adds nutritional value to the harvest. This modified food is called Genetically Modified Organisms(GMO). Most of the food we consume is genetically modified. In this article, we are discussing more about Genetic Modification or Engineering.

What is Genetic Engineering

In genetic Engineering, the genes of an Organism(Any living thing including plants) are reconfigured or manipulated according to the need. The genes are included in DNA(Deoxyribonucleic acid). The genes contain all the information for the development and functioning of an organism. Any living organism function according to its genetic information. So if we can alter this information, we can change the function of the organism according to our needs. In genetic engineering also known as genetic modification, scientists will transfer desired genes from one organism to another. This process creates genetically modified food from fast growing crops, increases in size, and bigger harvests.

Applications of Genetic Engineering in Agriculture

This assists in making plants immune to various diseases, withstand the harsh climate, and Overall crop production. We can use Genetic engineering in various ways;

1. Crop Improvement

Increase of production is the most important benefit from genetic modification in agriculture. We can use gentic engineering to reduce food cost, Improve the quality and nutritional value. 

2. Resistance to herbicides

Herbicides are used to destroy unwanted plants in the field. These herbicides are toxic for the plant health. But herbicides play a crucial part in agriculture. Scientists are experimenting less toxic herbicides but still plants must have a resistance to herbicides. There for developing herbicide resistant plant is very important. This can be achieved by genetic modification. 

3. Disease Resistance

Different agricultural methods and tactics have been used to manage plant viral disease, with various degrees of effectiveness. Fortunately, as genetic engineering has developed, researchers have been able to offer more encouraging results about virus resistance in plants. Currently, the most effective strategy for plant virus resistance is the production of a coat protein sequence in plants via a protein gene. Using this approach, the virus was positively received by the plants. More research is being done to provide a more straightforward procedure for delivering the protein gene into plants to increase their virus resistance.

4. Delayed Fruit Ripening

Quick fruit ripening is a major concern in agriculture. Due to the ripening of fruits in less time, these cannot be transported far. However, with genetic modification, scientists have successfully experimented and found a solution to delay the fruit ripening.

Genetically Modified Food(GMO) vs Classically Bred/Hybridized Food

GMOs and classically bred food are a product of gene modification, but through different technologies. In genetic engineering, Scientists modify a specific gene only. So the changes done in genetic engineering is very small and specific compared to classical breeding. In classical breeding gene modification is uncontrollable, thousands of undesired random genes will mix from classical breeding. Furthermore classical breeding is time consuming and results are not guaranteed. We have no control over the mixing of genes. Also we can not predict the exact results. 

In genetic engineering, it is possible to overcome the above issues. We can target the specific gene and do the modifications. This will guarantee the results and we can expect an exact outcome. 

Are GMO Safe?

In the United States, approximately 92% of corn, 94% of soybeans, and 96% of cotton grown in 2020 were Genetically modified. Corn and Soybeans are a major ingredient in many foods. Furthermore farm animals eat genetically modified plant most of the time. So the majority of the food we eat are genetically modified. 

The genetically modified food is on the market for more than a decade but since there is no report of bad effect from the consumption GMOs. However, it is very important to do the necessary safety assessments before releasing them into the market. 

According to the facts and feedbacks, GMO food is safe and there are no effects from it. But we can not guarantee this. This might change with the time and new experimental results.


Genetic modification play a huge role in agriculture providing various advantages. This is mainly used to increase the yield and growth of the crops. Genetic modification resolves large number of problems that farmers are facing. 

We always recommend to consume naturally breeded food and always encourage you to grow fruits and vegetables in your own garden. If you do not have a garden we encourage you to have a indoor greenhouse.

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