For centuries, humankind has made improvements to crop plants through selective breeding and hybridization -- the controlled pollination of plants.
Plant biotechnology is an extension of this traditional plant breeding with one very important difference -- plant biotechnology allows for the transfer of a greater variety of genetic information in a more precise, controlled manner.
Unlike traditional plant breeding, which involves the crossing of hundreds or thousands of genes, plant biotechnology allows for the transfer of only one or a few desirable genes. This more precise science allows plant breeders to develop crops with specific beneficial traits and without undesirable traits.
Many of these beneficial traits in new plant varieties fight plant pests -- insects, disease and weeds -- that can be devastating to crops. Others provide quality improvements, such as tastier fruits and vegetables; processing advantages, such as tomatoes with higher solids content; and nutrition enhancements, such as oil seeds that produce oils with lower saturated fat content.
Crop improvements like these can help provide an abundant, healthful food supply and protect our environment for future generations.
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