QVprep Biology Lessons

Broad applications of biotechnology

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Genetically modified organisms in agriculture: In the United States, the introduction of genetically modified organisms into agriculture began in 1993, when the FDA approved bovine somatotropin (BST), a growth hormone that boosts milk production in dairy cows.


Genetically modified plant: The first genetically modified plant was produced in 1983, using an antibiotic-resistant tobacco plant. In 1994, the transgenic Flavr Savr tomato was approved by the FDA which exhibited a delay in ripening after picking and hence had a longer shelf life.


Bt crops resistant to pests: Bt crops resistant to pests have been created. Bt stands for Bacillus thuringiensis, the organism responsible for producing toxins against pest. Genetic engineering has enabled the transfer of these genes into the genome of crop plants.


Recombinant chymosin: In the early 1990s, recombinant chymosin was approved for use in several countries, replacing rennet in cheese-making.


Use of microorganisms in food: Another form of biotechnology that has been around for thousands of years is the use of microorganisms in food. Microorganisms are used to turn milk into cheese and yogurt. They are used to ferment beer and wine. Yeast is used in bread to make it rise. All of this can be considered biotechnology because it utilizes organisms.