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  • Date Submitted: 07/04/2011 07:39 AM
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BIOTECHNOLOGY: A BOON OR A CURSE? Manjula V. Guru & James E. Horne1.

ABSTRACT
Crop genetic diversity is not just a raw material for industrial agriculture; it is the key to food security, and sustainable agriculture because it enables farmer=s to adapt crops suited to their own site specific ecological needs and cultural traditions. Without this diversity, options for long term sustainability and agricultural self reliance is lost. The type of seed sown to a large extent determines the farmers need for fertilizers, pesticides and irrigation. Communities that lose community bred varieties and indigenous knowledge about them, risk losing control of their farming systems B thereby restricting their markets - and becoming dependent on outside sources to satisfy those needs, and for the inputs needed to grow and protect them. Without an agricultural system adapted to a community and its environment, self reliance in agriculture is impossible. In this paper the advantages, disadvantages, and concerns associated with the loss of biodiversity and the advent of the biotechnological age are explored. KEY WORDS: Biotechnology; Diversity; Genetic; Sustainability.

1. INTRODUCTION 1.1 Background. One of the newest developments in US agriculture is the advent of biotechnology, which seems to be leading us into a sudden new biological revolution. It has brought us to the brink of a world of "engineered" products that are derived from the natural world rather than on chemical and industrial processes. The term "biotechnology" was coined in 1919 by Karl Ereky, a Hungarian engineer. At that time, the term meant all the lines of work by which products are produced from raw materials with the aid of living organisms. Ereky envisioned a biochemical age similar to the stone and iron ages. 1.2 Objective of this paper. Genetic engineering is now bringing to agriculture novel varieties of crops, animals, and microorganisms. It offers many potential benefits in medicine, industry and...

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