Is Biotechnology Good or Bad for Agriculture?

Is Biotechnology good or bad for agricutlture

The past couple of decades witnessed an emergence of technological developments and the modernization of almost all fields of modern societies, and food production is no exception. The fusion between technology and biology birthed a new concept, Biotechnology, which throughout time became a tool to increase food production as the human population globally jeopardizes food security. This piece will address the essentiality of the significant enhancement of agricultural productivity in the upcoming decade and the question, “is biotechnology good or bad for agriculture?”

New Biotechnology

The energized spurt of digital transformation has reached biological innovations, creating a new wave of alteration to the biological structure of agriculture on a global level. Biotechnological approaches manifested themselves as a solution to current and future concerns covering various aspects, with the most prominent ones being food security and change in our habits and climate.

When we correlate agriculture and modern biotechnology, it can be perceived as the act of implementing biological processes to create and develop products essential for human life and its development as a species. Infusing agriculture and biotechnology improves products’ quality, quantity, nutrition, tastes, and shelf life.

These new biotechnology factors, which ultimately, if properly taken advantage of, would completely reduce energy costs.

Agricultural Biotechnology

Ancient specimens of Biotechnology do not differ from the modern ones as one might think. In fact, traditional and modern biotechnology relatively fall under one umbrella.

While the earliest examples of biotechnology mainly were directed toward animals and plants domestication – which began almost 10,000 years ago – where both elements were considered a reliable source of food. Traditional biotechnology is, in actuality, what laid the foundations for modern biotechnology when early ancestral scientists manipulated microorganisms to give us cheese, yogurt, and alcoholic drinks such as wine and beer, by using microbes – yeast and bacteria.

Traditional Biotechnology

To those wondering where our crops emerged from or even what they were like thousands of years ago, you must first know that the past and the present are immensely different. The original wild organisms from which our current food crops vary in every form. The derivation between past and present – and probably future – plants is remarkable but nonetheless relatable.

  • Conventional Plant Breeding

The alteration of genetic crop makeup has been the norm for thousands of years when farmers chose and saved the best plants and seeds for plantation the following year. This plant breeding approach solely relied on very particular features such as faster growth, higher yields, pest and disease resistance, larger seeds, or sweeter fruits. 

This approach became a fundamental aspect of traditional biotechnology when farmers became aware that crop plants can be artificially mated to produce new, progressive plant characteristics.

  • Mutation Breeding

This traditional biotechnology approach first surfaced on the scene after World War II, with the inception of the nuclear age. 

Nuclear techniques exposed plants to gamma rays, protons, neutrons, alpha particles, and beta particles, resulting in stimulated purposeful mutations. This approach can still be seen till our day and plays a pivotal role in what is not known as modern biotechnology as it provides improved crops with agronomically-desirable characteristics.

Modern Biotechnology

When discussing modern biotechnology, one cannot disregard the role traditional biotechnology played in enabling numerous modern procedures in agriculture. To particularize, modern biotechnology is the systematic manipulation of plants’ genes, cells, and live tissue to create genetically modified make-up or the development of new tissues in an organism. 

The accomplishment of modern biotechnology for agricultural purposes brought into being some of the most reliant techniques in our contemporary time. The application of newly gained abilities in microbiological and biochemical technology to applied biology is what biotechnology is all about. Some of the most reputable modern biotechnology examples are:

  • DNA Profiling

the modernization of biotechnology and molecular biology is one of the leading elements allowing scientists to control any plants’ characteristics. By simply exploiting DNA sequence information – reading the genetic code to study the standard versions of genes – such as structure, function, and traits by implementing DNA technologies used in agricultural production. 

  • Genomic Analysis

To accommodate the increasing population needs in terms of food production, the need for a well-marginalized genome sequence became more and more of a necessity. Given that a genome is an organism’s complete set of genetic instructions obtaining a full analysis of each genome is exceptionally crucial when scientists attempt to manipulate its DNA sequence to decode a new set of genomes for an extensive list of plant species.

  • DNA Cloning

Seeing that modern biotechnology is the adoption of artificial means to alter the general structure of living organisms, or cells, to create new and unique elements to fulfill duties, DNA cloning has taken the lead in biological innovations.

DNA cloning, also known as genetic engineering, uses an organism’s DNA to create practicable traits. Through genetic engineering, scientists could clone plants’ DNA and apply it to agriculture. This led to increased production of food and other supplements, diagnosis of infection, and different genetic diseases among plants, biofertilizers, and much more.


While some might perceive this matter as a personal perception as to from which angle, we are looking at this situation, the answer to the question “is biotechnology good or bad for agriculture” – despite being a disputable question – is a positive one. 

If we are to look at it through agricultural development throughout the years, biotechnology has played a vital role in shaping food production to accommodate the ever-increasing population that has reached a somewhat uncontrollable level. Biotechnology cannot be classified as good or bad, as they are risks for it. Still, it has reached a point where it has become a necessity, not a luxury, or a corporate tool to increase shareholders’ wealth through production.

With climate change and global environmental catastrophes, agriculture has become a serious issue that needs a modern solution. Biotechnology could be deemed a solution if used for rightful purposes.

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