Biotechnology refers to manipulation of living organisms and their systems for manufacturing products. These are eventually for the betterment of humanity. Plant biotechnology is the sub-discipline which involves adding desired traits in plants. Moreover, it involves the research and manipulation of plant’s natural abilities. No doubt that plants will be a way much better source of many therapeutic products as compared to microbes (which are commonly used for various purposes). Plant biotechnology not only focuses on therapeutic products but also the ways to improve the crop yield and to develop pests-resistant varieties of crops. Currently, there are many research areas in the field of agriculture and plant biotechnology. Some of the top trends are covered in this article. Let’s have an overview of what’s happening in this field and what to expect from researchers in near future….
Epigenetic modifications occurring in vitro that influences the phenotype of plant depending upon various external (water stress, temperature etc) and internal stimuli (hormone and metabolic activities) are one of the top research topics to study the adaptive behavior of plants due to these changes.
Phenotypic plasticity is defined as the capability of genome or genotype to take different phenotypic forms of a given trait influenced by the environmental conditions and is significant in vitro plant cultures.
Studying these epigenetic modifications is expected to provide molecular basis of somaclonal variations in plant tissue cultures. This can be achieved by stydying and understanding the patterns of epigenome in plant cultures so that these modifications are controlled to provide positive influence on plant to improve the genetic engineering of transgenic plants. Epigenome is defined as the multitude of compounds and epigenetic factors that influence the gene expression.
These modifications can be manipulated in crop biotechnology for the production of crops with high yield and better nutritional values. For instance, it has been demonstrated that down-regulation of PVTRX1H gene results in alteration in secretions of particular plant hormones in embryonic stages of calli. This gene codes for methyltransferase enzyme. And it controls the gene expression being involved in biosynthetic pathway of auxin in somatic embryos used in plant cultures.
Orchestration of plant genome
These modifications are also termed as Orchestration Of Genome as they are involved in regulation of gene expression. The USDA Agriculture Research Center supports the researches on these phenomena for advances in crop biotechnology. This is because these modification influence the phenotypic traits in plants in positive manner. These modifications can prove significant in production of pathogenic resistant crops. These crops will have better phenotypic traits and with better adaptive ability to their environment.
This is just a brief overview of what’s happening in the field of plant biotechnology. The natural abilities and potential of plants together with the genetic engineering and biotechnological manipulations is no doubt a perfect combination. Thus, the expectations are high for new revolutions in area of agriculture and crop production.