Forum no.44: Biotechnology ver. Biosafety

Forum (44): Biotechnology ver. Biosafety

Keynote speaker :

Professor Ahmed S. El Wakeel, Ecologist Agricultural Research Corporation (ARC) Ex-National Coordinator, Biodiversity  Project

Summary: Forum (44) Biotechnology ver. Biosafety

1.Biotechnology is the use and modification of living things to make useful products to benefit mankind and the environment.The Four Main Biotechnology applications are Medicine, Agriculture, Biological engineering , Bioremediation.

2.Agricultural biotechnology involves techniques and processes such as Tissue and cell culture, Plant genetic modification, Molecular breeding, and Marker assisted selection. There are many applications of biotechnology in agriculture: Improved yield from crops, Reduced vulnerability of crops to environmental stresses, Increased nutritional qualities of food crops, Improved taste, texture or appearance of food, Reduced dependence on fertilizers, pesticides and other agrochemicals, Production of novel substances in crop plants. The most commonly modified crops are : Maize,Wheat, Soybean,Rice, Tomato, Canola.

3.Genetic Modification (GM) Technology This is the process whereby genes are moved into living organisms using modern biotechnology methods to give them useful and desired characteristics,but Molecular Breeding or Marker Assisted Selection This is a process where a morphological or biochemical characteristic is used for indirect selection of a trait of interest in plant breeding.

4.Genetic Engineering works by isolate a gene, change the gene so it will work in plants using a bacterium carrier,prepare plant cells or tissue, transform plant cells using a bacteria infection method and then finally re-grow cells to plants via tissue culture (cloning).

5.Potential Benefits are:

a. For Crops :Enhanced taste and quality, Reduced maturation time, Increased nutrients, yields, and stress tolerance, Improved resistance to disease, pests, and herbicides and New products and growing techniques .

b.For Animals: Increased resistance, productivity, hardiness, and feed efficiency, Better yields of meat, eggs, and milk, Improved animal health and diagnostic methods .

c.For Environment:”Friendly” bioherbicides and bioinsecticides, Conservation of soil, water, and energy , Bioprocessing for forestry products, Better natural waste management and More efficient processing.

d.For Society: Increased food security.

6.Potential Risks on Safety are :

a.Potential human health impacts.

b. Potential environmental impacts.

c.Domination of world food production by a few companies.

d.Increasing dependence on industrialized nations by developing countries .

f.Biopiracy, or foreign exploitation of natural resources .

g.Violation of natural organisms and Stress for animal Labeling.

h.Tampering with nature by mixing genes among species . i.Objections to consuming animal genes in plants and vice versa.

7.The concerns raised about the safety of genetically engineered food products fall into the following categories:

1. New allergens in the food supply.

2. Antibiotic resistance.

3. Production of new toxins.

4. Effect on nutrients.

5. Concentration of toxic metals.

8.Biosafety means the need to protect human and animal health and environment from the possible adverse effects of the products of modern biotechnology, so it is integral to modern biotechnology .It Seeks to lay down an internationally acceptable framework to provide for an adequate level of protection against the possible adverse affects of LMOS on biodiversity and human health.

9.Basic Premises of CPB The precautionary principle or precautionary approach states that if an action or policy has a suspected risk of causing harm to the public or to the environment, in the absence of scientific consensus that the action or policy is harmful, the burden of proof that it is not harmful falls on those taking the action.

10.The purpose of a biosafety system is to control the risks associated with the products of modern biotechnology. An integrated national biosafety system has the following elements:

a. National policy, strategies and research agenda regarding biosafety.

b. National inventory and evaluation 3. Knowledge, skills and capacity base to develop and implement a biosafety system.


Coordinator & web admin of the UNESCO / Cousteau Ecotechnie Chair (UCEC)

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