Plant biotechnology – current status and future perspectives

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Abstract or Summary

Since the success of transferring a foreign gene into plants and the expression of the incorporated gene in the transgenic plant genome in 1983, plant biotechnology has been developing for 30 years. From research in the laboratories to practical applications in the farms, the importance of this new technology in the production of food and forage has been proved. In the year of 2012, the areas of biotech crops planted reached 170 million hectares, compared with 1.7 million hectares in 1996, the first year when commercialized transgenic crops were adopted globally. Most of the products on the current market belong to the first generation products, which target to reduce farmers inputs. The development of the second generation transgenic plants focused more on increasing the crop yield, stress tolerance as well as quality improvement. Golden rice and drought tolerant maize are two of the successful examples. The third generation biotechnology of breeding programs, which utilized plants to produce recombinant proteins, such as pharmaceuticals and industrial, have also developed rapidly in recent years. Several such kinds of products are now at different stages of clinical trials. With the speedy progress of life science and technology, this new breeding technology will be continuously improved and a greater role will be expected from it for the development of sustainable agriculture.

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