Impact of Genetically Modified Crops on the Genetic Diversity of Cultivated and Wild Species of Plants
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- Genetically Modified Crops, Genetic Diversity, Conventional Breeding, Monoculture
- Begna, Temesgen; Mohammed, Kedir
- Genetic engineering is the process of genetic modification of organisms through transferring genetic material from one organism to another organism in order to change an organism’s characteristics to the desired traits. A genetically modified organism is an organism (plant, animal or microorganism) whose genetic material has been altered using gene or cell techniques of modern biotechnology. Genetic engineering is the improvement program which enhances the efficiency of crop improvement relative to conventional phenotypic selection by changing the focus from the paradigm of identifying superior varieties to a focus on identifying superior combinations of genetic regions and management systems. Biotechnology has the potential to address various problems in agriculture and society. GM strategies are being employed to minimize yield losses due to various stresses (biotic and abiotic) and are being used extensively for value addition in food crops by enrichment with quality proteins, vitamins, iron, zinc, carotenoids and anthocyanins. Other ongoing efforts include the enhancement of shelf life of fruits and vegetables so as significantly to reduce the post-harvest losses of perishable crops. Genetic modification produces genetically modified animals, plants and organisms. The introduced genetically modified crops into the environment can affect biodiversity. Genetic diversity is crucial for adapting to new environments, as more variation in genes leads to more individuals of a population having favorable traits to withstand harsh conditions. Low genetic diversity, on the other hand, can be very problematic during changing environments, as all individuals will react similarly. It is assumed that genetically engineered modifications may affect the genetic diversity of a population through crossbreeding or uncontrolled growth; therefore, many researchers are investigating whether this is true and how it might be prevented. The integration of conventional plant breeding with various biotechnological techniques advance crop genetic improvement and shortening the crop improvement cycle with desirable traits in order to satisfy the demand of people in both quantitative and qualitative ways.
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