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RIBios Paper Book: Publications on GMOs


Research Project

Environment and Sustainable Development: Implications of Biosafety

> see the project description


Biosafety - Biotechnology - Developing Countries - GMOs - Intellectual Property


What is biotechnology applied to agriculture ?

The term biotechnology refers to a large set of techniques using properties of living organisms. It includes traditional processes used in every day life for millenniums such as fermentation in bread, wine, and beer making. In such processes, living organisms are used to transform one substance into another e.g. sugar into alcohol.

But today biotechnology refers mainly to modern techniques currently applied in medicine, pharmacy and agriculture. In that latter field, genetic engineering and tissue culture are the most important ones and we will only consider those in this module.

Genetic engineering techniques enable scientists to identify a particular DNA sequence corresponding to a selected gene, to excise it and to transfer it into another organism, for example a plant cell. Through genetic engineering techniques the genome of an organism can be modified.

Tissue culture is another important technique for the development of transgenic plants. It enables us to grow and multiply cells outside an organism and to regenerate a whole plant from a single cell. This regeneration process is a key step and is often a limiting factor. In rice for example, the difficulty to regenerate plants from a single cell has for a long time prevented the production of transgenic rice.

Both genetic engineering and tissue culture are necessary to create a transgenic plant; genetic engineering to introduce the transgene (gene from another species) into the plant cell and tissue culture to regenerate the transformed cell into a whole plant.


The Future of Plant Biotechnology in Switzerland
English | [670 ko] > download
Food Security and Intellectual Property Rights in Developing Countries
English | [547 ko] > download
Les impacts des plantes transgéniques dans les pays en voie de développement et les pays en transition
French | [7192 ko] > download
Le principe de précaution: quelques éléments de base
French | [388 ko] > download
Biosafety Regulation: the Cartagena Protocol
English | [496 ko] > download
Approaches of Risk: an Introduction
English | [406 ko] > download
Introduction to GMO: technique and safety
English | [993 ko] > download