People have been modifying plants, animals and microorganisms for specific uses for centuries. Today, there are newer, more precise methods of genetic modification that are being used to introduce diverse beneficial characteristics including:
- Better tasting fruits or vegetables
- Fruits and vegetables that retain their flavor and texture longer
- Fruits, vegetables, grains or oils which enhance health
Plants with their own built-in pest resistance traits, so fewer pesticides are applied to fields
Rapid, sensitive, and accurate diagnostic kits to monitor for agricultural pests. Growers will use this information to reduce pesticide use and improve the timing of applications
Plants resistant to virus, so less pesticides are needed to control the insects which transmit the virus
Plants better able to tolerate stressful conditions such as high or low temperatures, drought and high salts in soil or water
Vaccines for animals to protect against diseases otherwise not controllable.
- Consistent, reliable and highly purified enzymes for food processing. In cheese production, Chymosin®, a product of biotechnology, replaces the more expensive and variable enzyme rennin, obtained from animal sources.
- Biotechnology is also used to produce pharmaceuticals, such as human insulin for diabetics and medicine to treat numerous diseases.