Harnessing biotechnology: Faced with 720 million undernourished people around the world, UN embraces genetic engineering and precision agriculture

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Credit: Bread for the World
Credit: Bread for the World

In 2020, between 720 and 811 million people were undernourished globally, around 161 million more people than in 2019. Conflict in protracted situations, the impacts of COVID-19, and weather extremes are worsening pre-existing drivers of hunger.

Biotechnologies have reduced time in breeding cycles to develop improved varieties and breeds and enabled targeted improvements.

Developments in genetics, molecular and phenotypic characterization, reproductive biotechnologies, and conservation techniques help to keep a range of domesticated genetic resources available, accessible, and adapted to meeting the changing needs of producers.

The sterile insect technique has been widely used as an important component of integrated pest management to suppress target insect pests in many countries.

Whole genome sequencing can provide a strategic option for identifying and tracing foodborne pathogens around the globe.

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The [2021 UN Secretary General’s Report on Agricultural Technologies for Sustainable Development] notes that no technology or innovation works in isolation or is a silver bullet. Technologies need to be developed and applied in a coordinated and coherent way with other levers of change, including governance, human capital, business and finance, and individual and collective action to make agri-food systems more sustainable, equitable, and resilient.

This is an excerpt. Read the original post here.

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