The below mentioned article provides notes on modern biotechnology.
Biotechnology is any technique that uses living organisms or substances from those organisms to make or modify a product, improve plants or animals, or develop microorganisms for specific uses.
The key components of modern biotechnology are:
The molecular characterisation of all species;
The assembly of data from genomic analysis into accessible forms;
The introduction of single genes conferring potentially useful traits into plant, livestock, fish, and tree species;
4. Molecular breeding:
The identification and evaluation of desirable traits in breeding programs with the use of marker-assisted selection;
The use of molecular characterisation to provide more accurate and quicker identification of pathogens;
6. Vaccine technology:
Use of modern immunology to develop recombinant DNA vaccines for improving control of lethal diseases. Modern biotechnology will not solve all the problems of food insecurity and poverty. But it could provide a key component to a solution if given the chance, and if steered by a set of appropriate policies.
These policies should guide:
1. Increased public investments in R&D, including that in modern biotechnology;
2. Regulatory arrangements that inform and protect the public from any risks arising from the release of genetically modified organisms (GMOs);
3. Intellectual property management to encourage greater private-sector investment; and
4. Regulation of the private seed and agricultural research sector to protect the interests of small farmers and poor consumers in developing countries.
Pro-poor policies can help expand agricultural R&D, including traditional and modern biotechnological research, in order to solve problems of particular importance to the poor. The problems of orphan commodities require particular attention.
Given the high rates of return, more public support for agricultural R&D should be encouraged in most developing countries. Additional public financial support for R&D at the national, regional, and international levels would help to develop public goods the poor can afford.
Technology-transcending risks emanate from the political and social context in which the technology is used. They include concerns that biotechnology may increase the prosperity gap between the rich and the poor, and may contribute to a loss of biodiversity. Ethical concerns about patenting living organisms and moving genes between species also fall into this category.
The principles and practices for assessing and managing technology-inherent risks are well established in several countries. They take into account the nature of the organism, the familiarity of the product, any distinguishing features of the process by which a product was produced, and the environment into which it will be introduced.
A science-based assessment of these factors on a case by case basis, and identification of any concerns expressed by stakeholders, enable regulators to find out what risks may be associated with a particular product and to make appropriate recommendations. A regulatory system that enjoys the confidence of the public and the business and farming communities is essential for the effective use of biotechnology.
The purpose of intellectual property management is to protect local inventions and enable access to technologies developed elsewhere. Trade-related intellectual property rights (TRIPs) are a matter of on-going concern within the World Trade Organisation.
The present patent system favours those countries that have a strong innovation base. Despite much effort, no satisfactory system exists to recompense traditional owners and improvers of germplasm. The lack of intellectual property protection also constrains private-sector investment in developing countries.
The participation of the private sector is critical to the development and delivery of new biotechnology products. The enabling environment to encourage private sector participation includes a regulatory system that accurately informs the public of the benefits and risks involved in the use of new technologies, a legal framework for protecting intellectual property; adequate infrastructure for power, transport, and telecommunications; a fair tax system and investment incentives; a skilled workforce, including a well-supported university sector; public funding for R&D; and incentives to establish innovative public-private collaboration and joint ventures at the national and international levels.
The successful application of modern biotechnology to the problems that cause undernourishment and poverty could be called a bio-solution. The delivery of new bio-solutions to the problems of food security and poverty will require continual policy development and actions at the national, regional, and international levels.
These efforts will involve the following five areas:
1. Determining priorities and assessing relative risks and benefits in consultation with the poor, who are often overlooked while others decide what is best for them;
2. Setting policies that benefit the poor and that minimise technology-transcending risks that adversely affect the poor;
3. Establishing an environment that facilitates the safe use of biotechnology through investment, regulation, intellectual property protection, and good governance;
4. Actively linking biotechnology and information technology so that new scientific discoveries worldwide can be assessed and applied to the problems of food insecurity and poverty in a timely manner; and
5. Determining what investments governments and the international development community will have to make in human and financial resources in order to ensure that bio-solutions to the problems of food security reach the poor.