Transgenic plants are plants that have genes in them coming from a different plant species. Such genes can be transferred through genetic engineering at the laboratory. Such modification can also occur during ordinary hybridization by cross-pollination of plants.
Such genetic modification of different plants is being developed in order to enable scientists and researchers to create plants that will exhibit specific characteristics that are inherent in the genes that were transferred into the host plant. The technology today now allows the transfer of specific genes even from species that belong to entirely different kingdoms.
Developing transgenic plants is not as new as many think it is. Traditional techniques in creating such plants in being able to fight certain plant diseases better were not that controversial. During the 1930’s, there was a transgenic wheat plant named Hope that was bred by E. S. McFadden in order to resist a devastating plant disease known as stem rust that plagues many plantations during that time. Hope, which was a transgenic wheat bred with a transgene coming from a wild grass, was able to save American wheat growers from the devastating effects of stem rust outbreaks.
What made today’s transgenic plants so controversial is that they are being made through direct DNA manipulation of plants. Most transgenic plants being created today are being developed for wide commercial use if such plants have passed through some tests.
But there are a number of researchers today that also believe that today’s transgenic plants may possibly have a serious effect not only its own plants species but may also include the environment as well as the human population. There are concerns that the risks involved in trying to create transgenic plants through such means still need to be studied more carefully before they can be let out of the laboratory introduced in the market for commercial use.
Although there are certain risks that may be present in creating genetically modified plants, the possible benefits enable researchers to further study and develop the said technology in order to make it more acceptable for the general public on different aspects, including human safety. Many of the supposed benefits of using transgenic plants is to increase harvests especially for major food staples in order to help solve the increasing problem of world hunger.
Transgenic plants are being made in order to better fight off certain diseases as well as to be able to better combat against certain pests. Transgenic plants can also be developed with increased nutritive properties in order to better feed a hungry global population with a majority having little access to a sufficient food supply. Increasing harvest yields through transgenic plants is something that more researchers are continuously trying to develop in order to help address such serious issues such as world hunger and malnutrition.
With that said, there is a bright future for transgenic plants. It may prove to be the answer to some problems that may be plaguing the world at large. Concerns of many people about their safety are but normal, considering that new developments in this field are fairly new and may need to be further studied.
But such concerns should not be the only reason to try and forbid the developments of such technology to be used for the greater good. An open mind among the global population is just what might be needed in order to help make transgenic plants gain more acceptability to a concerned population looking for definite answers.