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Why use Biotechnology in Agriculture?

  1. Crop production can be increased by identifying and selecting genes resistant to diseases caused by viruses, bacteria and fungi. These genes can then be inserted into other plants.
  2. Plants can obtain nutrients from the soil more efficiently reducing the need for fertilizers. Rhizobium, a microbe, can be applied to the seed of plants to assist in nitrogen fixation.
  3. Plants can resist insects or better compete with weeds. Researchers in Ontario, Canada, have developed a process whereby a mold on strawberries is controlled using a fungus transferred to plants by honey bees.
  4. Farmers can reduce the amount of herbicide and pesticide spraying. Some plants produce chemicals from their roots that retard the growth of other nearby plants. This chemical may assist in the control of weeds.

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