Agricultural Modification

And How It's Changed With Bioengineering

Background

Many thousands of years ago, humans first learned how to domesticate livestock and crops. They, even way back then,used bioengineering in the from of the science called agriculture.Basically, agriculture is the science or practice of farming. Ancient humans learned how to harvest crops the way they wanted them to appear using a certain technique for breeding organisms together to get a better organism.Whether it was bigger and tastier or juicier and seedless, that process was used and was very successful.
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First Type Of Genetic Modification Used-Selective Breeding

In the time between 1856 and 1863, Gregor Mendel conducted experiments that established him as the "Father of Genetics" by proving that the offspring of an organism will share traits similar to its parents. A Punnett Square is used to describe how the dominant and recessive traits from an organisms parents can combine to give the offspring that trait. Before the Punnett Square or Mendel,though, ancient people had already used this method of modification through selective breeding.Selective breeding is when you breed the most desirable organisms with each other to get a better organism. One example of this is Brassica oleracea, or wild cabbage. B. oleracea is the plant that many vegetables come from, such as broccoli,cauliflower,and cabbage. Through selective breeding, this one plant has become many because of people demanding for certain traits. Take broccoli, for example. After some individuals were changed, they were bred together to make the modern broccoli.
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Today's Main Modification Technique

Scientists have figured out how to manipulate many more aspects of organisms nowadays. Instead of just selective breeding, we have devised many more different ways to modify organisms. The main way used today to modify organisms is to isolate individual genes in an organism's cell, then insert new genetic code in a specific area to manipulate or enhance the cell. It is then grown into the organism or inserted into that organism when grown enough to be used. One example is Bt, or Bacillus thuringiensis, which is a bacteria that kills many plants. First discovered after it was found to be killing silkworms in Japan, it was used as a pesticide.The pesticide had many limitations,such as the fact that it was easily washed away from rain, easily degraded by UV radiation from the sun, and couldn't reach insects under soil, discouraging it from being used much.But, after it was discovered that a toxic crystal that was found in the bacteria made it lethal, the bacteria was studied thoroughly and the gene that encodes that toxic crystal was found. Scientists were really encouraged to use its genes in plants because of the side-effects it had when it was used as a pesticide. They then took this gene and inserted it into plant cells, allowing them to make these crystals and get rid of pests that ate them.
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